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Plate 19 


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Mallard, Anas hoschas Linne 3 

Greenland ^Mallard, Anas hoschas conboschas Brehm 43 

Hawaiian Duck, Anas wyvilliana Sclater 44 

Latsan Teal, Anas laysanensis Rothschild 50 

Oustalet’s Gray Duck, Anas oustaleti Salvadori 53 

Mexican Duck, Anas diazi Ridgway 55 

New Mexican Duck or Huber’s Duck, Anas diazi novimexicana Huber 56 

Florida Dusky Duck, Anas fulvigula Ridgway 60 

Black Duck, Ajias rubripes Brewster 68 

Red-legged Black Duck, Alias rnbripes rubripes Brewster 88 

Green-legged Black Dnck, Anas rubripes tristis Brewster 88 

Indian Spot-bill, Anas pcecilorhyncha Forster ’ 90 

Anas pcecilorhyncha pcecilorhyncha Forster 96 

Anas pcecilorhyncha haringtoni (Oates) 96 

Eastern Spot-billed Duck or Gray Duck, Anas zonorhyncha Swinhoe 97 

Philippine Mallard, Anas luzoniea Fraser 101 

Australian Duck, Anas superciliosa Gmelin 103 

Anas superciliosa superciliosa Gmelin 112 

Anas superciliosa rogersi Mathews 112 

Anas superciliosa percna Riley 113 

Anas superciliosa pelewensis Hartlaub and Finsch 113 

African Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undulata Dubois 114 

African Black Duck, Anas sparsa Eyton 120 

Anas sparsa sparsa Eyton 126 

Anas sparsa leucostigma Riippell 126 

Meller’s Duck, Anas melleri Sclater 127 

Bronze-winged Duck, Anas specularis King 129 

Crested Duck, Anas cristata Gmelin 132 

Anas cristata cristata Gmelin 136 

Anas cristata alticola Menegaux 137 

Gadwall, Anas strepera Linne 138 



CouEs’s Gadwall, Anas couesi (Streets) 158 

Falcated Teal, Anas falcata Georgi 159 

Widgeon, Anas penelope Linne 167 

American Widgeon, Anas americana Gmelin 189 

Chilian Widgeon, Anas sibilatrix Poeppig '203 

European Teal, Anas crecca Linne 211 

American Green-winged Teal, Anas carolinensis Gmelin 231 

Formosan Teal, Anas formosa Georgi 246 

Chestnut-breasted Teal, Anas castanea (Eyton) 255 

Gray Teal, Anas gibherifrons S. Miiller 261 

Anas gibberifrons gibberifrons S. Miiller 266 

Anas gibberifrons mathewsi, nom. nov. 266 

Cape Teal, Anas capensis Gmelin 267 

Madagascan Teal, Anas bernieri (Hautlaub) 271 

Yellow-billed Teal, Anas flavirostris Vieillot 273 

Sharp-winged Teal, Anas oxyptera Meyen 279 

South Georgian Teal, Anas georgica Gmelin 281 

Andean Teal, Anas andium (P. L. Sclater and Salvin) 285 

Hottentot Teal, Anas punctata Burchell 287 

Andaman Teal, Anas albogularis (Hume) 290 

Anas albogularis albogtilaris (Hume) 294 

Anas albogularis leucopareus (Fleming) 294 

Brazilian Teal, Anas brasiliensis Gmelin 295 

Ring-necked Teal, Arias leucophrys Vieillot 302 

Pintail, Anas acuta Linne 306 

Anas acuta acuta Linne 329 

^7105 acuta tzitzihoa Vieillot 329 

Chilian Pintail, Anas spinicauda Vieillot 330 

Eaton’s Pintail, Anas eatoni (Sharpe) 339 

Crozette Isl,\nds Pintail, Anas drygalskii Reichenow 343 

Bahama Duck, Anas bahamensis Linne 
Anas bahamensis bahamensis Linne 
Anas bahamensis rubrirostris Vieillot 






Galapagos Isl.\xd Duck, Anas galapagensis (Ridgway) 351 

African Red-billed Duck, Anas erythrorhyncha Gmelin 353 

Garganet Teal, Anas querquedula Linne 353 

Blue-winged Teal, Anas discors Linne 373 

CiNNAiiON Teal, Anas cyanoptera Vieillot 39O 

Anas cyanoptera cyanoptera Vieillot 401 

Anas cyanoptera orinomus Oberholser 401 

Argentine Gray Teal, Anas versicolor Vieillot 402 

Puna Teal, A)ias puna Tschudi 408 

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Plate 19. 
Plate 20. 
Plate 21. 

Plate 22. 

Plate 23. 
Plate 24. 

Plate 25. 

Plate 26. 

Plate 27. 

Plate 28. 

Plate 29. 

Plate 30. 

Rising Mallard Frontispiece 

By Frank W. Benson 

Mallard, Anas boschas Linne, in display postures facing page 4 

By Allan Brooks 

Hawaiian Duck, Anas ivyvilliana Sclater 
Laysan Teal, Arras laysanensis Rothschild 

Oustalet’s Gray Duck, Haas oustaleti Salvador! facing page 44 

By Allan Brooks 

Mexican Duck, Anas diazi Ridgway. Adult male and female 
Florida Dusky Duck, Anas fulvigula Ridgway. Adult male and female 

By Allan Brooks facing page 58 

Black Duck, Anas ruhripes Brewster facing page 68 

By Allan Brooks 

Indian Spot-bill, Anas poecilorhyncha Forster 
Eastern Spot-billed Dltck, Anas zonorhyncha Swinhoe 
Philippine Mallard, Anas luzonica Fraser 

Australian Duck, Anas superciliosa Gmelin facing page 90 

By Allan Brooks 

African Yellow-billed Duck, Anas undidata Dubois. Adult male 
African Black Duck, Anas sparsa Eyton 

Meller’s Duck, Anas melleri Sclater facing page 114 

By Allan Brooks 

Bronze-winged Duck, Anas specularis King. Adult male 
Crested Duck, Anas cristata Gmelin. Adult male facing page 132 

By Allan Brooks 

Gadwall, Anas strepera Linne. Adult male and female 

CouEs’s Gadwall, Anns cowm (Streets). Type, male facing page 138 

By Louis Agassiz Fuertes 

Falcated Teal, Anas falcata Georgi. Adult male and female, adult male in 
eclipse facing page 160 

By Allan Brooks 

Widgeon, Anas penelope Linne. Adult male and female 
American Widgeon, Anas americana Gmelin. Adult male and female 
Chilian Widgeon, Anas sibilatrix Poeppig facing page 168 

By Allan Brooks 

American Widgeon, Anas americana Gmelin, in display postures 

By Allan Brooks facing page 198 



Plate 31. 

Plate 32. 

Plate 33. 
Plate 34. 

Plate 35. 
Plate 36. 
Plate 37. 

Plate 38. 

Plate 39. 

Plate 40. 

Plate 41. 

Plate 42. 
Plate 43. 

Plate 44. 

European Teal, Anas crecca Linne. Adult male and female 
American Green-winged Teal, Anas carolinensis Gmelin. Immature 
male, adult male and female facing page 212 

By Allan Brooks 

Gadwall, Anas strepera Linne, and American Green-winged Teal, Anas 
carolinensis Gmelin, in display postures facing page 240 

By Allan Brooks 

Formosan Teal, Anas for mosa Georgi. Adult male and female 

By Louis Agassiz Fuertes facing page 246 

Chestnut-breasted Teal, Anas castanea (Eyton). Adult male and female 
Gray Teal, Anas gibherifrons S. AlUller. Adult male and female 

By .\llan Brooks facing page 258 

Cape Teal, Anas capensis Gmelin. Adult male facing page 268 

By Allan Brooks 

IMadagascan Teal, Anas bernieri (Hartlaub). Adult male and female 

By Henrik Gronvold facing page 272 

A’ellow-billed Teal, Anas flavirostris Vieillot 
Sharp-winged Teal, Anas oxyptera Meyen 
South Georgian Teal, Anas georgica Gmelin 

Andean Teal, Anas andium (P. L. Sclater and Salvin) facing page 276 

By Allan Brooks 

Hottentot Teal, Anas pimctaia Burchell. Adult 

Andaman Teal, Anas albogidaris (Hume). Adult male and female 

By Allan Brooks facing page 290 

Brazilian Teal, Anas brasiliensis Gmelin. Adult male 
Ring-necked Teal, Anas leucophrys Vieillot. Adult male and female 

By Allan Brooks facing page 298 

Pintail, Anas acuta Linne. Adult male and female 
Chilian Pintail, Anas spinicauda Vieillot 

Eaton’s Pintail, Anas eatoni (Sharpe). Immature male, adult female 

By Allan Brooks facing page 306 

Bahama Duck, Anas bahamensis Linne 

Galapagos Island Duck, Anas galapagensis (Ridgway) 

African Red-billed Duck, Anas erythrorhyncha Gmelin facing page 344 

By Louis Agassiz Fuertes 

Garganey Teal, Anas querquedida Linne. Adult male and female 

By Allan Brooks facing page 358 

Blue-winged Teal, Anas discors Linne. Adult male and female 
Cinnamon Teal, Anas cyanoptera Vieillot. Adult male and female 

By Allan Brooks facing page 374 

Argentine Gray Teal, Anas versicolor Vieillot. Adult 

Puna Teal, Anas puna Tschudi. Adult facing page 402 

By Louis Agassiz Fuertes 


Map 28. Distribution of Mallard {Anas bosclias) 

Map 29. Distribution of Mexican Duck {Anas cliazi) 

Map 30. Distribution of Florida Dusky Duck {Anas julvigula) 

Map 31. Distribution of Black Duck {Anas rubripes) 

Map 32. Distribution of Indian Spot-bill {Anas poecilorhyncha) 

Map 33. Distribution of Eastern Spot-billed Duck {Anas zonorhyncha) 
Map 34. Distribution of Philippine Mallard {Anas luzonica) 

Map 35. Distribution of Australian Duck {Anas superciliosa) 

Map 36. Distribution of African Yellow-billed Duck {Anas undulata) 
Map 37. Distribution of African Black Duck {Anas sparsd) 

M.\p 38. Distribution of Bronze-winged Duck {Anas specularis) 

Map 39. Distribution of Crested Duck {Anas cristata) 

Map 40. Distribution of Gadwall {Anas strepera) 

Map 41. Distribution of Falcated Teal {Anas falcaia) 

Map 42. Distribution of Widgeon {Anas penelope) 

Map 43. Distribution of American Widgeon {Anas americand) 

Map 44. Distribution of Chilian Widgeon {Ajias sibilatrix) 

Map 45. Distribution of European Teal {Anas crecca) 

Map 46. Distribution of American Green-winged Teal {Anas carolinensis) 
IMap 47. Distribution of Formosan Teal {Anas formosa) 

IVIap 48. Distribution of Chestnut-breasted Teal {Anas castanea) 

Map 49. Distribution of Gray Teal {Anas gibberifrons) 

Map 50. Distribution of Cape Teal {Anas capensis) 

Map 51. Distribution of Yellow-billed Teal {Anas flavirosiris) 

Map 52. Distribution of Sharp-winged Teal {Anas oxyplera) 

Map 53. Distribution of Andean Teal {Anas andium) 

Map 54. Distribution of Hottentot Teal {Anas punctata) 

Map 55. Distribution of Brazilian Teal {Anas brasiliensis) 

Map 56. Distribution of Ring-necked Teal {Anas leucophrys) 

Map 57. Distribution of Pintail {Anas acuta) 

IVIap 58. Distribution of Chilian Pintail {Anas spinicauda) 

facing page 8 
facing page 56 
facing page 62 
facing page 70 
facing page 92 
facing page 98 
facing page 102 
facing page 104 
facing page 116 
facing page 122 
facing page 130 
facing page 134 
facmg page 140 
facing page 162 
facing page 170 
facing page 190 
facing page 204 
facing page 214 
facing page 232 
facing page 248 
facing page 256 
facing page 262 
facmg page 270 
facing page 274 
facmg page 280 
facing page 286 
facing page 288 
facing page 296 
facing page 304 
facing page 308 
facing page 332 



Map 59. Distribution of Bahama Duck (rinas hahamensis) 

Map 60. Distribution of African Rod-billed Duck {Anas eryihrorhyncha) 
Map 61. Distribution of Garganey Teal (.Dms qucrquedula) 

INIap 62. Distribution of Blue-\yinged Teal (Anas discors) 

M.A.P 63. Distribution of Cinnamon Teal {Anas cyanoptera) 

M.\p 64. Distribution of x4.rgentine Gray Teal (Anas versicolor) 

M.\p 65. Distribution of Puna Teal (Anas puna) 

facing page 346 
facing page 354 
facing page 360 
facing page 376 
facing page 392 
facing page 404 
facing page 408 



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A^as ba^c/irtaXinm. h U:in\ Itf, v/,i. j[^' p, ig7, 17 :;^. 

. dom‘:i. . \<..j^,!i., IrniifV - Nlllur^»■, ^><3. Vi, vol 1 . ut. ij. 6?yt: 

ifixicas y.': A ^ /''..aynno ^3^iL p ?{^, J8:7.- 

%, ■ Aru/..-i ..‘; V(.kA^y ■'•.■■ MyAiKi.. Okf'u'f! iiiO. <^97. 

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7()5Mi'xJ?uv<. Sv.’aint»;>r«j CLit;.':}f, Biftlij, W'K “i, p. Siv; . i.iJS7, 

Bc. hMifcTfti)(:X '-y- ^?'0{^ Zpi>l 3*av. I.^'ndovi, 15^17, p. !‘'i, 

A.yii vfir. <’'pl -G:::3i«.r<;t. Ni- UiTtunnl^, 13:^ 'Js ;,. '-'*7, 

j ,x-l .H. p, ^iiO, ;5i:r . 

Namm <vTvy’?i ^:o f>OMm'rc 
Luip^'t S^tema ]78iLura\ 10, Vv' 1. p 'i3H, 

V 4iniM cuTviro-^trii Pallus., Sjiicileqia Zooi'ogiea, jV:. 0. p. ‘7fiy. ' 

'vnVrrtafa, 'pef^iiciu Atirt.‘i^--'nio.:j')y. ijAr-'d, 'ViaA fU^via, A.w-s' fiigra 

Gmdin, Hrate's Svstcitta Voi -.u:- •-■<! Vo \o\, 1, f-.p :•:■!. p. ,5,78 1788 

■A Anas' say;ad<>rii BuitikrJ.ef . Bon, -; 'tt IS, r,] ;5D. 

^ BOOCX feft-s “pfie.-.vo:'? : >. r ■fi,-.-rE-'i . fo,- lio-, ' ! 

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i ' Dutk, Gr«y Duck. Gray 'iVTidJi-rxI, lilicv Duck, 3>k.‘?>j 3 >vicm 'Ml.'- 'V-xh. 

Fr^ndii Caxtavd salvage, Gi:'* SiaJard, Vk!v'‘4c, enjiu 

,,r ' HalbraTis, lirots. 

Ogrm.un: St.ocivcii'<*' Vv’iidc J'3’i<c, GwriCioc i‘;a1.4': •etc, -^pi'^gey-., - B:atii-nr.r, 

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(Plate 19; Plate 20) 


?Anas platyrhynchos Linne, Systema Naturae, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 125, 1758. 

Anas hoschas Linne, Systema Naturae, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 127, 1758. 

Anas domestica Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 538, 1788. 
Anas boscas Forster, Synonymic Cat. British Birds, p. 35, 1817. 

Anas archiboschas Brehm, Oken’s Isis, 1830, col. 997. 

Anas (Boschas) domestica Swainson and Richardson, Fauna Boreali-Americana, 
vol. 2, p. 442, 1831. 

Boschas domestica Swainson, Classif. Birds, vol. 2, p. 367, 1837. 

Boschas f era Denny, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1847, p. 40. 

Anas major Brehm, Vogelfang, p. 372, 1855. 

Anas boschas, var. pallescens Olph-Galliard, Naumannia, 1855, p. 402. 

Anas platyrhyncha Lonnberg, Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 54, p. 529, 1906. 

Names given to Domestic Breeds 
Anas adunca Linne, Systema Naturae, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 128, 1758. 

Anas curvirostra Pallas, Spicilegia Zoologica, pt. 6, p. 33, 1769. 

A7ias cirrhata. Anas persica. Anas major, Anas grisea, Anas naevia. Anas nigra 
Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 538-539, 1788. 

Anas salvadorii Biittikofer, Notes from Leyden Museum, vol. 18, p. 59, 1896. 

Note: Lonnberg (1906) has endeavored to resuscitate Linne’s Anas platyrhynckos for this species, 
on the ground that it applies to the male Mallard in eclipse plumage and has page priority over 
Anas boschas; but Oberholser (1921) considers the name not clearly identifiable. In view of this 
uncertainty, it seems better to retain the name so long in common use. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Mallard, Wild Duck, Green-head, Stock Duck, English Duck, French 
Duck, Gray Duck, Gray Mallard, Mire Duck, Moss Duck, Muir Duck. 
French: Canard sauvage, Colvert, Gros Malard, Maillard, Bourre, Ainette, Guit, 
Halbrans, Lirots. 

German: Stockente, Wilde Ente, Gemeine Ente, Blumente, Spiegelente, Blauente, 
Marzente, Grasente, Blaukopf, Blasente, Hagente, Ratschente, Stutzente, 
Stossente, Sturzente, Moosente, Grossente. 

Danish: Grtesand, Graand, Stokand, Kjaerand, Moseand, Roand, Bygand. 



Sicedish: Grasand, Stockand, Vildand, Akerand, Blahals. 

Nonvegian: Stokand, Duna, Vildand, Sildand, Laksand, Agcrand, Kornand, 

Faroes: Vid Idunna. 

Icelandic: Stokkond, Graond, Mejrdnd, Blakollsdnd, Kildnd. 

Lapps: Stuora-vuojas. 

Esthonian: Mets part. 

Lettish: Mescha pilile, Alerz pihle, Norma gish. 

Finnish: Punajalka suorsa, Sinisorsa, Punasorsa, Isosorsa, Ileinasorsa. 

Russian: Krakushka, Kraikownaya utka, Utka, Selescn, Kachka, INIateraja utka. 
Tartar: Kogal, Kas-urdak. Czechish: Kaclma divoka. 

Polish: Kaczka krzyzowka. Croatian: Patka gluvara. 

Wendish: Wulka kacka. Dtdch: Wilde Eend. 

Portuguese: Pato real. Basque: Agalea, Ugata, Ata. 

Spanish: Pato real, Pato galan, Anade, Pato salvaje, Colvert, Lavanco, Parrulo. 
Sardinian: Anadi conea-birdi, Anadi reale, Crabu, Irdi, Conca-birdi. 

Italian: Germano real, Anatra salvatica, Colle verde. Capo verde, Nedrot, Zison, 
Mazorin, Meddarda. 

Maltese: Culuvert, Borca. 

Hungarian: Kaesogo recze, Tdkesreeze. 
Arabic: Boumou. 

Turkish: Ordek. 

Armenian: Bad. 

Georgian: Gareuli-ichivi. 

Mordvinians: Jaksergae. 

Cheremisses: Luda. 

Samoyedes: Nsebi. 

Mongolian: Azin. 

Lamuts: Nikis, Tarmi. 
Kamchatkan: Saain, Leehlem. 
Kuriles: Saangitch, Saaitchiteh. 
Hindustani: Nilsir, Lilgah, Niroji, 
Subz-zurdan, Sun-aurdak. 
Turin: Suna aiirdak. 

Persian: Murghabi. 

Japanese: Magamo, Awokubi. 
Ostiaks: Wasa. 

Mexican: Concanauhtli. 

Kalmucks: Nogossiim, Borodshin. 

Eskimo: {Labrador) Mitterliik; (Ala^ska) Uk-shuk-puk, Yu-gukh-puk; (Green- 
land) Kaertlutok, Pigsik atartik. Piking arnakajik. 


Adult Male: Head and upper neck rich metallic green. Below this a well-marked white ring. Man- 
tle and scapulars gray, more or less mixed with bro^vm, and minutely freckled and barred with black- 
ish. Upper back dark browm to blackish, rump and upper tail-coverts black, with rich purple and 
green reflections. Under tail-coverts purplish black. Breast rich chestnut merging more or less 


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Plate 20 





sharply into the silver white of the abdomen and flanks. Wing-coverts slaty brown except the last 
row. Speculum rich purple bordered anteriorly with a narrow black, and then a broad white bar, 
both on the coverts; bordered posteriorly by similar bars at tips of secondaries. Primaries ashy, under 
wing-coverts and axillars white. Four central tail-feathers sharply upcurled and glossy black; rest 
of tail ashy colored with the margins of the feathers white. 

Iris dark broiiVTi. Bill brilliant lemon yellow to greenish yellow; nail black. Legs and feet coral 
red, more brilliant when the bird is in perfect condition. 

Wing 260 mm. or even less, to 296, average about 280; bill 51-59, maximum 63; tarsus 46, maxi- 
mum 48 or 49. 

W'eight 2.5 to 3.75 pounds (1.1 to 1.7 kilograms); maximum according to my notes 3.75, but 
heavier birds have been reported. European examples average slightly smaller than American. 

Adult Female : General color dark brown above, with feathers of mantle, scapulars and back edged 
with buff or white. The under surface browm, more or less streaked with black, but here there is 
great variation, for some specimens are nearly plain silvery white everywhere except on upper 
breast, others very dark and heavily streaked. Chin and throat from immaculate buff to very pale, 
almost cream color. Wings same as in male. 

Iris dark brown. Bill dull orange, irregularly splotched, especially about nostrils with blackish; 
nail black. Legs and feet less brilliant than in male. Size smaller than in male. 

Weight 2 to 2.75 pounds (0.9 to 1.2 kilograms), averaging about 2.5 pounds (1.1 kilograms). 

Young Female in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Very similar to the adult female, but lower surface 
always has a “stripey” or streaked appearance; upper surface may be difficult to distinguish from 
that of adult female. Bill and legs duller in color, and tail feathers blunt at the tips. 

Young Male in First Plumage: Similar to young female on lower surface, but constantly darker 
and somewhat more uniform above, especially on the mantle, lower back and rump. The feathers of 
the top of the head lack the light edgings seen in those of the female, and the bill is clear olive green, 
not mottled. Size slightly larger than the young female. Tail feathers blunt at tips. 

Male in Eclipse Plumage : Similar in general appearance to adult female, but darker on the upper 
side, without the characteristic light edging of the feathers. Pileum darker and more iridescent. 
Usually some admixture of previous plumage, or beginnings of autumn plumage. Curled central 
tail-feathers absent. Lower surface with the chin and throat more spotted than in the female and 
the upper breast darker and ruddier. This plumage was described as early as 1835 by C. L. Brehm 
(Oken’s Isis, 1835, col. 238-240). 

Downy Young: Upper surface blackish, overlain with long hair-like yellow feathers. There is a 
dark stripe running through the eye from the culmen to the occiput and a small dark aural patch. 
The under surface is sulphur yellow to yellowish buff. White areas occur on the wings, scapulars 
and sides of rump while a lighter area invades the sides of the mantle. 


In the northern hemisphere, this species ranges in America from northern Alaska to southern 
Mexico; and in the Old World from the Arctic to northern Africa, India, China and Japan. 

Few species of birds have a wider range or are represented by greater numbers than the Mallard. 
In view of this fact any ornithologist will realize that an attempt to treat its distribution exhaustively 
must inevitably result in failure. I shall, therefore, content myself with adducing what Qgjjgj.^j 
seems to me adequate authority for the statements made, and shall go into detail 
chiefly in the case of such countries or regions as are comparatively little known ornithologically. 




Breeding Range 

In the New World the Mallard breeds chiefly in the northern and western poitions. According to 
L. M. Turner (1886) it nests in the Aleutian Archipelago on Attu and the Semidi Islands, having been 
Aleutian observed also on Amchitka in late May, and on Unalaska during the breeding season. 
Islands Nelson (1887) also has recorded its occurrence on the latter island during the nesting 
period. The species has bred on the Fur Seal Islands (Elliott, 1882; Palmer, 1899), while on the 
mainland of Alaska its breeding range extends, on the seacoast, north as far as the 
north shore of Kotzebue Sound (Nelson, 1887). It is, apparently, a rare bird in this 
region, if we may judge from the paucity of records and J. Grinnell’s (1900) statement that it was 
scarce on the Kowak River. As to its status in Alaska as a whole, it is very diflBcult to reach a clear 
judgment, because of the conflicting statements of reliable men. L. M. Turner (1886) says it is com- 
mon in the Yukon district, and this is borne out by Bishop (1900), who adds that these birds are es- 
pecially plentiful at the mouth of the Yukon. On the other hand Turner (1886) found it more abun- 
dant on the upper than on the lower Yukon, and F. S. Ilersey (1917) also remarks that it is not a com- 
mon bird at St. Michael’s. At any rate the species is evidently more common in southern Alaska, 
from the north shore of Norton Sound, south to the mouth of the Kuskoquim (Nelson, 1887). No- 
where in this area, however, is it very common ; but at the base of the Alaska Peninsida it is said to be 
abundant (Osgood, 1904). J. Grinnell (1910) has recorded it for the Prince William Sound district, 
and Loring (1902) states that the species is common in Cook Inlet and Knik Arm. Farther to the 
southeast it is fairly common at Mole Harbor, Alexander and Beaver Lakes (J. Grinnell, 1910), the 
Chilkat River (Hartlaub, 1883), and Glacier Bay (W. S. Brooks, 1915). From the interior of Alaska it 
has been recorded from Nulato (Dali, 1873) and from the Porcupine River (U.S. Biological Survey) as 
well as from the Yukon in general (L. M. Turner, 1886; Nelson, 1887). It appears that the species 
Northwest breeds somewhat farther north in eastern Alaska, and in the extreme northwestern 

Canada paj-j of British America, for Ross (1862) records it for the MacKenzie north to the 

Arctic coast and for Fort Simpson, while MacFarlane (1908) found it on the MacKenzie and Ander- 
son Rivers. Still it must be a very rare bird north of Great Bear Lake, and is not mentioned by 
Stefansson (1913) as occurring north of Great Slave Lake. Kennicott (Baird, Brewer and Ridgw'ay, 
1884), how'ever, found it at Fort Good Hope on the lower MacKenzie, and farther west it was met 
with rather commonly on the MacMillan River (Osgood, 1904). To the eastward Seton (1911) did 
not see any at the east end of Great Slave Lake or northeast of there. In the whole central region 
bounded on the west by the MacKenzie, on the north by Great Bear Lake, on the east by the Barren 
Grounds and on the south by the Saskatchewan River, the Mallard is a regular and common breeder 
(Preble, 1908). MacFarlane (1908) has also recorded it from the Great Slave and Athabasca Lake 
regions, and states that it is very common on both sides of the Saskatchewan River. About the 
Athabasca Delta, R. M. Harper (MS.) found it a common breeding bird. 

Turning for a moment to the southw'estern parts of British America we find the species an abun- 
dant resident and breeding bird throughout British Columbia (Fannin, 1891; Kermode, '1904; 

A. Brooks, 1917). Mallards are known to have bred also on Vancouver Island (Swarth, 
1912). Eastward they are very common as breeding birds in Alberta, having been 
recorded for Edmonton (Soper, 1918), central Alberta (Stansell, 1909) and eastern 
Alberta (W. S. Brooks and Cobb, 1911), and in Saskatchewan (Spreadborough, 
fide J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909; Bent, 1907; C. B. Horsbrugh, 1915). I have al- 
ready mentioned the .statements of Preble (1908) and MacFarlane (1908) as to 
the abundance of these birds on the Saskatchewan River and northward. Further records are those 
for Quill Lake and Prince Albert Lake (Ferry, 1910, and others). Buchanan (1920) found the 
Mallard common and breeding in the lake region of central Saskatchewan and in the basin of 
the Churchill River. He met with it north even to the Cochrane Riv'er and Lake Du Brocket. In 









Manitoba the species is equally common (E. E. Thompson, 1891), especially on Shoal Lake (Tav- 
erner, 1919), Lake Winnipeg (MacFarlane, 1908), etc. Northward along the west Manitoba 
side of Hudson Bay the species has been found aO the way from Lake Winnipeg and 
Oxford House to York Factorj' and thence north on the Barren Grounds to Seal River 
and beyond (Preble, 1902), while southward it has been found at IMoose Factory, on James Bay (U.S. 
National Museum). No doubt the species breeds throughout western Ontario and 
eastward to 78° west longitude. Langille (1884) and Mcllwraith (1894) speak of it 
nesting on St. Clair Flats and I myself have heard of nests at Hamilton Bay and Long Point, Lake 
Erie. This region marks the eastern limit of its regular breeding range in Canada, but there are 
isolated summer records of Mallards in the Maritime Provinces and also in the eastern Maritime 
United States. Thus, the species is met with occasionally in New Brunswick (Cham- Provinces 
berlain, 1882), on Prince Edward Island (MacSwain, 1908), and in Nova Scotia (Downs, 1888; 
Tufts, 1918). There are a number of records for Labrador, too, as far north as Ungava Bay (C. W. 
Townsend and Allen, 1907; Hantzsch, 1908). 

In the United States, IMallards have bred sporadically in the western counties of New York 
State (Eaton, 1910) and in western Pennsylvania (B. H. Warren, 1890; Todd, 1904; 

Harlow, 1918). Possibly the Lake Region of these two States is to be included in the 
regular breeding range. But such records as those for Trenton, and for Burlington Eastern 
County, New Jersey (Harlow, 1918, and others), for Delaware (Rhoads and Pennock, 

1905), for Maryland (Forbush, 1912), and for Virginia (H. H. Bailey, 1913; Whealton, in litt.) must 
be regarded as strictly extra-limital and possibly cases of semi-wild, or escaped birds. As was re- 
marked above, 77° or 78° west longitude is evidently the eastern limit of the breeding range. This in- 
cludes Ohio, where the species breeds quite regularly in small numbers (L. Jones, 1903 ; W. L. Dawson, 
1903; Gossard and Harry, 1912), and Indiana where it is also known to breed (A. W. Butler, 1898). 
According to Barrows (1912) a few nest in Michigan, but other writers state that it is 
an abundant breeder in the south (Gibbs, 1879), especially on St. Clair Flats (Cook, 

1893; J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909) and at Ann Arbor (Covert, 1876). In Wisconsin it still nests in 
small numbers (Kumlien and Hollister, 1903; Cory, 1909), especially in the southern parts (Kumlien 
and Hollister, 1903). The species nests also throughout Illinois (Cory, 1909) from the Chicago 
district (Woodruff, 1907) south to Mt. Carmel (Ridgway, 1895). I find no breeding records for any 
of the States on the south side of the Ohio River, excepting the old statement of Audubon that the 
species nests in Kentuckj'. 

West of the Mississippi the Mallard nests extensively m Minnesota (Hatch, 1892; Roberts, 1919) 
and in Iowa (R. M. Anderson, 1907), occasionally even south to northern and eastern Missouri 
(Widmann, 1907; U.S. Biological Survey). Recently an instance of its nesting near 
Winchester, in southeastern Arkansas, has been recorded (Hunt, Auk, vol. 38, p. 375, 

1921). In Kansas it is a comparatively rare resident (Goss, 1886; Bunker, 1913; H. Harris, 1919), 
though it breeds even in the southern parts (Cooke, 1906), but northward, in Nebraska, it is not rare 
as a resident and breeds everywhere (Bruner, Wolcott and Swenk, 1905; Oberholser, 1920). On the 
other hand the species seems to nest less commonly in South Dakota (McChesney, 1879), excepting 
perhaps in Sanborn County (Visher, 1913), though in North Dakota it breeds everj^where (Job, 1899; 
Bent, 1901-02). In Montana also it is a common breeding bird almost everywhere (A. A. Saimders, 
1921), the statement holding good also of Wyoming (Grave and Walker, 1913; W'. C. Knight, 1902; 
Cary, 1917). According to Rockwell (1911), Felger (1909), and W. L. Sclater (1912) the species is 
common in summer and breeds in Colorado, while Cooke (1906) states that it breeds through- 
out New Mexico, and VTiarton Huber collected many young in all stages in 1920, near Las Cruces, 
in the extreme southern part of the State. Recently, Wetmore (1920) has written at some length 
of the nesting of this species at Lake Burford, New Mexico. There is even a record for El Paso, 




Far Western 







In Arizona the Mallard breeds (Cooke, 1906), presumably in the Mogollon Mountains (Swarth, 
1914) and in the southwest parts, where it was seen near Yuma in May (J.Grinnell, 1914). In Nevada 
a few may breed as they have been seen there in May and June (W. P. Taylor, 1912). 
In Utah the species nests abundantly about Great Salt Lake (Wetmore, 1921), while 
in Idaho it is also known to breed (Rust, 1915). According to W. L. Dawson and Bowles (1909) it 
is a common resident in Washington, a statement which applies also to Oregon (Pope, 1895-96). 
Grinnell, Bryant and Storer (1918) state that it nests throughout California. Even in Lower Cal- 
ifornia nests have been found in the San Rafael Valley and at San Pedro Martir (Brewster, 1902). 

The Mallard is a resident bird in Greenland, breeding on the west coast from Julianehaab north 
to Godthaab and rarely north to Upernavik (Winge, 1899). On the east coast it has 
been found nesting as far north as Angmagsalik (Helms, 1910). 

In Iceland the species is a common breeding bird, generally distributed throughout the country 
(Slater, 1901; Hantzsch, 1905). It breeds also on the Faroes (Muller, 1869) and on 
the Shetlands (Saxby, 1874; Evans and Buckley, 1899). Throughout the British 
Isles it nests in suitable localities, being more common in Scotland than in England, 
and being the most abundant breeding duck in Ireland (G. R. Gray, 1871; Dresser, 
1871-81; Seebohm, 1885; Ussher and Warren, 1900; Millais, 1902; Witherby et al., 

On the Continent the species breeds throughout Scandinavia, excepting the extreme northern 
Scandi- parts of Norway, where it does not go beyond Tromsd or Bosekop, 70° north latitude 

navian (Collett, 1873) though it breeds eastward to the Finnish border (Schaanning, 1913). 

Peninsula jjje species breeds from the extreme south northward to the frontier of Lap- 

Lapland land (Nilsson, 1858; Dresser, 1871-81), but apparently rarely north of 68° north 
latitude (Wallengren, 1854). In Lapland it is a common breeder in the southern parts (Dresser, 
1871-81). It has been found in the west not rarely at Enontekis (Suomalainen, 1912; Montell, 1917) 
and even north to Utsjoki, 69° 30' north latitude (Palmen, 1876), and eastward in Syd Varanger 
(Schaanning, 1907). Finnila (1913, 1914) met with the species, though rarely, in the Sodankyla 
region and in the Kuolajarvi district. Enwald {fide Pleske, 1886) has recorded it from the Tulona 
River, and Nikolski (ibid.) from the Murman coast, where, of course, the species is very rare. 

Southward it is said to be an abundant bird in Uleaborg (Dresser, 1871-81) and in 
central Finland (Suomalainen, 1908). Palmgren (1913) states that it is the commonest 
duck in the Helsingfors region. 

In Denmark the Mallard nests commonly (Kjarbolling, 1850), but in Holland and in Belgium 
Denmark comparatively few breed (Schlegel, 1859; Dubois, 1912). Nowhere in France is it a 
Nether- common breeding bird, but Ternier’s (1897-98) careful study of its distribution in 
that country shows that it nests in practically all departments, particularly in the 
France northwest, in the valleys of the Seine and the Loire. Even in Provence and Savoy it 
is known to nest (Clarke, 1895, 1898; I’Hermitte, 1916). 

In Spain the Mallard is generally distributed and nests throughout (Arevalo y Baca, 1887), 
though breeding much more commonly in the marismas of the lower Guadalquivir 
(H. Saunders, 1871; H. Noble, 1902) than in other localities. It appears to be the 
only member of the duck tribe that nests in Portugal, where its status is much the 
came as in Spain. Tait (1896) has recorded its nesting at Ovar, and Vieira {fide 
de Seabra, 1910) found nests at Maioroa. It is said to nest also on Flores, in the 
Azores (Godman, 1866). Furthermore it is a common breeder in Sardinia (Salvadori, 
1865; Brooke, 1873) and in Corsica (Wharton, 1876; J. Whitehead, 1885; Jourdain, 
1911). The species is said to be resident in Morocco (Favier, Irby, 1875) and is 
said to breed in Algeria (Loche, 1867; Menegaux, 1919). A few may nest also in 
Tunis (Whitaker, 1905). It certainly does so in Sicily (Malherbe, 1843) and in limited numbers 









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Mallard (Anas hoschas) 

winter range, broken line 
ited by crosses ( X) 












throughout the Italian peninsula, though apparently more commonly in the north (Giglioli, 1889- 
91; Arrigoni degh Oddi, 1904). It breeds also throughout Switzerland (Fatio, 1904), Italy 
and in Luxembourg (La Fontaine, 1865-72). Switzerland 

In Germany the Mallard is a very common breeding bird, and has been so recorded for Schleswig- 
Holstein (Dahl, 1905), Oldenburg (von Negelein, 1853), the Rhine Provinces (Le 
Roi, 1906-97), Brunswick (R. Blasius, 1896), Brandenburg (Schalow, 1915), Pome- 
rania (Holland, 1857), east Prussia (Hartert, 1892), Saxony (Heyder, 1913; Helm, 1905), Lusatia 
(Hantzsch, 1903), Bavaria (Jackel,^de Naumann, 1896-1905) and the Rhine Palatinate (W. and T. 
Heussler, 1896). 

In what was formerly the Dual Monarchy, the present species is likewise an abundant breeding 
bird. It nests commonly in Bohemia (Fritsch, 1872), in Austria (Mojsisovics von Mojsvar, 1897), 
in Styria and Croatia (Dresser, 1871-81), in the Tyrol (Althammer, 1857), possibly Succession 
Dalmatia (Kolombatovic, 1903), in Slavonia (Clarke, 1884), in Herzegovina (Kadich, States 
Mitth. Ornith. Ver. Wien, 1887, p. 67), throughout Hungary (von Madarasz, 1884; Frivaldski, 

1891) , and in Transylvania (Danford and Harvie-Brown, 1875). In the Balkans, too, 
it is an exceedingly common nester; in Montenegro (Reiser and von Fiihrer, 1896), in 
Albania (Lodge, 1909; Sperling, fide Dresser, 1871-81), in Greece (Powys, 1860; Kriiper, 1862; 
von der Miihle, 1844; Lindermayer, 1860; etc.). Northward it was found nesting extensively about 
Monastir (P. J. C. McGregor, 1906) and in Macedonia (Sladen, 1917, 1918), as well as in Bulgaria 
(Reiser, 1894), in the Dobrudja (Sintenis, 1877; Alleon, 1886), Rumania (Radakoff, 1879; von der 
Miihle, 1844) and Bessarabia (Almasy, 1898). 

The Mallard breeds abundantly in Poland (Taczanowski, 1888; Katin, 1912) and throughout 
most of what was formerly the Russian Empire. Here its breeding range extends 
from the Karelian coast in the northwest (Rae, 1881) and from Archangel (Goebel, 

1873; Seebohm, 1882a; Harvie-Brown, 1877; etc.) southward, but not east to the 
Petchora (Harvie-Browm, 1876). Apparently a line drawn southeastward from the base of the 
Kanin Peninsula to northern Perm, that is, the hne of the Timan Mountains, would mark 
the northeastern boundary of the breeding range in Europe. In Olonets and about Lakes La- 
doga and Onega the species is, of course, a common breeder (Sievers, 1877). The same is true 
of the Petrograd region (Biichner, 1887; de Ditius, 1885; Bianchi, 1907), the Baltic Provinces 
(Goebel, 1873; Sawitzky, 1899; Loudon, 1909), Pskov (Zarudny, 1910), Smolensk (Poliakov, 
1912), Novgorod (Bianchi, 1910), Vologda (Andreeff and Bianchi, 1910; Mejakov, 1856), Perm 
(Harvie-Brown, 1878), Kazan (Russki, 1893), Moscow and Tula (Menzbier, 1881, 1883; Lorenz, 

1892) , Orel (Daniloff, 1864), Kief (Goebel, 1869), Podolia (Belke, 1853), Cherson and the Crimea 
(Brauner, 1894, 1899), Ekaterinoslav (Valkh, 1911) and Charkov (Czemay, 1852). E. von Mid- 
dendorff (1891) says it is a common breeder on the coasts of the Sea of Azov, and the same is 
true of Astrakan and the regions of the lower Volga (Moeschler, 1853; E. von Middendorff, 1891; 
Seebohm, 1883). 

Throughout the Caucasus the Mallard nests in suitable localities (Radde, 1884; Seebohm, 1883), 
as it does in the interior of Asia Minor (Danford, 1878). The Taurus is probably the 
limit of the breeding area in this region. Bucknill (1910, 1911) believes that some may 
stay to breed on Cyprus, and Shelley (1872) in an earlier publication, stated that the 
species breeds even in lower Egypt. Since the statement was not repeated in his 
book, and since no later observers have mentioned it, it may be regarded as an error. 

Farther north the species nests in Armenia (Nesterov, 1911), in northwestern Persia 
(Radde, 1886; Zarudny, 1911) and throughout the rest of Persia, rarely in the Para- 
pamis and Seistan regions (Zarudny, 1911). It probably does not remain to breed in 
Mesopotamia. Northward it is knowm to nest in Transcaspia (Radde and Walter, 

1889; Molcanov, 1912; Zarudny, 1886, 1889-90) and throughout Turkestan, excepting possibly the 


Asia Minor 








southwestern part (Dresser, 1876). It nests also in the whole Kirgis region (Suschkin, 1900, 1914; 
Central Nazarow, 1887) and very likely in Orenburg. It is at present impossible to fix accu- 




rately the northern limit of the breeding range in western Siberia. Finsch (1879) says 
he did not see the Mallard on the Obi below its junction with the Irtysh, and he 
states that at Narimskaia it was looked upon as a curiosity. Yet a recent writer 
(Ushakov, 1913) says it breeds commonly in the Tobolsk Government. It seems that 61° or 
Central 62° north latitude would fix fairly accurately the northern limit in this region. In 

Asia central Asia, however, it was found common on the steppes about Semipalatinsk, on 

the Marka-kul and on the Irtysh below Buchtarminsk (Finsch, 1879), as well as in Akmolinsk 
(Bianchi, 1902), Minussinsk, the Sajan Mountains, Russian Altai and on the Saissan-nor (Suschkin, 
1913). It is said to be common at Tomsk (P. and J. Zalesski, 1915) and to extend on the Jenesei 
north to 60° north latitude (Popham, 1898; Seebohm, 1880). Southward the range includes un- 
Eastern doubtedly the Tian-shan, whence the species has been recorded for Baimgol (Ldnnberg, 

Turkestan 1905), the Naryn Valley (Laubmann, 1913) and Baltistan (Richmond, 1896). Still 
farther south this duck nests in Yarkand and Kashgaria (Scully, 18761 R. B. Sharpe, 1891; Koslov, 
1899) and Kashmir (Brooks, Dresser, 1871-81; Jcrdon, 1864; Baker, 1908; Hume and Marshall, 
1879). Very probably some breed in select localities throughout the Himalayas and 
on the lakes of southern Tibet (Walton, 1906). It is not likely that it nests in the 
deserts of central Tibet, but it does breed in northern Tibet and on the Lob-nor (Koslov, 1899). 

In Mongolia the species evidently breeds in all suitable localities, especially in the valley of the 
Hoang-ho (Prjevalski, 1878) and in Shen-si (Sowerby, 1912). I am unable to give a 
definite limit for the southern extent of breeding in western China, but see no reason 
why the species should not nest in the mountainous regions south to 25° north latitude. 
At any rate it breeds in Manchuria (Ingram, 1909; Kuroda, 1918), and in Korea 
(Taezanowski, 1887, 1888). Apparently it is only a very rare breeder in Japan proper 
(Hondo), so Mr. Kuroda WTites. 

The Mallard breeds in eastern Siberia, but only in the southern parts, perhaps never going 
Eastern farther north than 65° north latitude. Bunge (1883) has recorded it from Irkutsk and 
Siberia the upper Lena and Taezanowski (1874) says it is common in Transbaikalia. Hall 
saw it one hundred miles above Yakutsk in June (Hartert, 1904). Buturlin (1908) considers the 
Verchojansk Mountains as the northern limit on the Lena, basing this perhaps on the fact that 
Maak (1859) met with the species on the Wiljui. A. von Middendorff (1853) found it breeding 
throughout the Stanowoi Mountains and on the south coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, while Radde 
(1863) met with it everywhere on the upper and middle Amur, and von Schrenck (1859) found it 
particularly common at the mouth of that river. In the Ussuri country it is equally common (Dor- 
ries, 1888) and has been described as the most abundant breeding duck in that region (Prjevalski, 






1878). On Sakhalin also the Mallard has been found breeding (Ldnnberg, 1908; Hesse, 
1915; Thayer and Bangs, 1916). It nests on the Kuriles and sparingly on Yezo 
(Blakiston and Pryer, 1882; Kuroda, in lilt.), and Mr. Kuroda -wTites me that downy 
young were obtained in Kamchatka in June and July, 1918. Since it winters there 
quite commonly, it may be a common nester, especially since it breeds not infre- 
quently on Bering Island (Stejneger, 1885; Bianchi, 1909; Clark, 1910). I am unable to fix the north- 
ern limit of the breeding area in extreme eastern Siberia, but it is not found on the .Arctic coast in 
that region (Nelson, 1883), and very likely not north of 61° or 62° north latitude. 





Winter Range 

The breeding and wintering areas of the Mallard coincide to a remarkably great extent. In the New 
Aleutian World the species winters commonly on the Aleutians, at least on Attu (L. M. Turner, 

Islands 1886) and on Unalaska (Nelson, 1887; L. M. Turner, 1886; Dali, 1873, 1874). It 



p. 67, 1909), 




States : 



winters in central Alaska in the region about Mt. McKinley (Sheldon, Auk, vol. 26, 
and at Sitka. According to Kermode (1904) and A. Brooks (1917) it is abundant in 
British Columbia and in Vancouver (Taverner, 1917). The same is true of the Pa- 
cific coast of the United States, where it winters in Washington (W. L. Dawson and 
Bowles, 1909), Oregon (Bendire, 1877; Pope, 1895-96) and the whole of California 
(Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918). Eastward it winters in Idaho (Rust, 1915) and 
presumably in Nevada. A. A. Saunders (1921) says that some winter in Montana, 
while Grave and Walker (1913) and W. C. Knight (1902) record its wintering in Wyoming, and I 
have been informed of this for the Jackson Hole country in the northwestern part. It is undoubtedly 
to be found in Utah, and is common in winter in Colorado (W. L. Sclater, 1912), in southern Ari- 
zona (Swarth, 1914) and presumably in New Mexico. East of the 105th meridian (west longitude) the 
northern wintering limit runs farther south. I find no records of its wintering in the Dakotas, though 
it may be found in parts of South Dakota in winter . It has wintered at Lake City, Minnesota (Estes, 
1877) and is known as a regular winter bird in Nebraska (Bruner, Wolcott and Swenk, 1905). Some 
numbers wunter in Kansas (Bunker, 1913; H. Harris, 1919), Arkansas (Howell, 1911) and in Mis- 
souri (Widmann, 1907; Howell, U.S. Biological Survey, MS.). Some unquestionably winter in parts 
of Iowa also. East of the Mississippi the species wunters north to southern Wisconsin 
(Kumlien and Hollister, 1903), and has been recorded from Illinois by Ridgway (1895) 
and Woodruff (1907). A. W. Butler (1898) states that it winters also in Indiana, while Barrows 
(1912) thinks a few may winter even in southern Michigan. Keeler (1888) has recorded its wintering 
in Milwaukee County of the last-named State. According to W. L. Dawson (1903) it winters occa- 
sionally in Ohio, and I presume it does so in parts of Pennsylvania, for it winters in western New 
York (Eaton, 1901). In New England the species has been knovm to winter rarely in 
all of the States excepting Vermont and New Hampshire, and it has been recorded by 
Sage, Bishop and Bliss (1913) as being commoner now than formerly in Connecticut. In Rhode 
Island it winters uncommonly (Howe and Sturtevant, 1899) and in Massachusetts it is very rare in 
winter (Howe and Allen, 1901). Both O. W. Knight (1908) and G. M. Allen (1909) state that it 
occurs rarely in Maine, according to the former, along the entire coast. Cooke (1906) states that it 
is accidental in winter even in Nova Scotia. South of New England in the coastal Nova Scotia 
States it occurs rarely but regularly in New Jersey (W. Stone, 1909), Delaware (Rhoads Southern 
and Pennock, 1905), Maryland (G. Eifrig, 1904), Virginia (H. H. Bailey, 1913), United 
North Carolina (Pearson, Brimley and Brimley, 1919), South Carolina (Wayne, States 
1910), in Georgia and in Florida south at least to Caloosahatchie (Scott, 1892; Cory, 1896); but it 
is not really abundant on the coast except south of the Chesapeake. In Alabama the species is 
common (Golsan and Holt, 1914) and also in all the States of the lower Mississippi Valley, namely 
Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi on the east and Arkansas and Louisiana on the west side, this 
region forming the greatest wintering district of the species in the New World (Cooke, 1906; Kop- 
man, 1921; etc.). In Texas also it is common (Beckham, 1888; Dresser, 1866; McCauley, 1877; 
Strecker, 1912), as it is in Oklahoma (Cooke, 1914). In Mexico it winters from the border south to 
about 19° or 20° north latitude in the east, and a little farther south in the west. Both Belding (1883) 
and Ridgway {fide Brewster, 1902) have recorded it from Lower California, Kennerly (fide Baird, 
Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) and Ferrari-Perez (1886) from Sonora, Lawrence (1874) 
from Mazatlan, Sinaloa, Cooke (1906) from Colima, Herrera (1888), Lawrence (1875), 

Sanchez (1877-78) from the Valle de Mexico, Duges (1869) and Beebe (1905) from Jalisco and 
Guanajuato, Sclater and Salvin (1876) from Jalapa, Vera Cruz. It has evidently occurred in Guate- 
mala (J. J. Rodriguez, 1909-10) and at El Boquete, Lake Nicaragua, great flocks have been seen 
(Rendahl, 1919). Cooke (1906) says there is a record for Costa Rica, though Carriker 
(1910) makes no reference to it. The fact that M’Leannan (Sclater and Salvin, 1864) 
found it in Panama must be regarded as unusual, and the same is true of de Armas’s (1893) 






record for Colon. Jewel (1913) says the only record for Panama is one for Miraflores. W. Stone 
(1918) includes the species in his list of the birds of the Canal Zone. In the Pacifie the species 
Hawaiian occurred as a straggler in the Hawaiian group on Oahu and Molokai, and once 

Islands also on Laysan Island (Schauinsland, 1899). The status of the species in the West 
West Indies is not yet clear. In the Bahamas, where it has been found on New Provi- 

Indies dence, it appears to be regular in its occurrence (Cory, 1890; Riley, 1905) and even 

common (H. Bryant, 1859). There is one record of the occurrence of a flock in Cuba, on Lake 
Cardenas (Gundlach, 1875), while in Jamaica it appears to be accidental in winter (March, 1864; 
Bangs and Kennard, 1920). In the Lesser Antilles it occurs on Guadeloupe, according to an old 
record of I’Herminier’s (Lawrence, 1879), as well as on the Grenadines, — St. Vincent, Mustique^ 
Carriacou and Grenada (Wells, 1902; Clark, 1905). It is also known as a straggler in Bermuda 
(J. M. Jones, 1859; von Martens, 1859; Reid, 1884). 

In southern Greenland, where the species is resident, it winters very commonly at Ivigtut (HagT 
erup, 1891) and on the west coast probably north to Godthaab (Winge, 1899) while 
on the east coast Helms’s (1910) dates would seem to indicate that it winters north to 


In Iceland practically all of the breeding birds winter, that is, the species is really resident there 
Iceland (Hantzsch, 1905). The species is resident also on the Faroes (Miiller, 1869) and 

Faroes winters commonly on the Shetlands (Saxby, 1874; Evans and Buckley, 1899), and 

Shetlands the Orkneys (Buckley and Harvie-BrovTi, 1891). Throughout the British Isles 

it is abundant in the cold season, being if anything, commoner than in summer (Dres- 
ser, 1871-81; Seebohm, 1885; Ussher and Warren, 1900; Witherby et al., 1919-22; 
etc.). On the Continent it winters in Norway south of Trondhjem Fjord (Collett, 1871; 
Schaanning, 1913), and in Sweden is very common in the cold season on the coasts of 
the middle and southern parts (Wallengren, 1854; Nilsson, 1858). It is presumably 
common in winter in Denmark (Helms, 1905) as it is in Holland (Schlegel, 1859) and 
in Belgium (Dubois, 1912; Raspail, 1913). Dresser (1871-81) speaks of it as common 
in winter in France, but it is probably found chiefly in the coastal regions, about Tours 
(Martin, 1887), in Anjou (Rogeron, 1903), at Perpignan (Backhouse, 1887) and par- 
ticularly in Provence (I’Hermitte, 1916; Griscom, 1921). The Pyrenean Peninsula 
seems to be one of the great wintering resorts of the species. According to A. C. Smith 
(1868), Tait (1887) and de Seabra (1910) it is common in Portugal. H. Saunders (1884) 
foimd it on the Lac de Lourdes, in the Pyrenees; and throughout Spain it is abundant in the cold 
season (Reyes y Prosper, 1886; Arevalo y Baca, 1887; Vayreda y Vila, 1883; Seone, fide Reyes y 
Prosper, 1886; H. Saunders, 1871; A. Chapman, 1888; Aldaz y Amazabel, 1918; et al.). Godman 
Azores (1866) states that it winters throughout the Azores. According to Barcelo it winters 

on the Balearics, as it does also in Corsica (Jourdain, 1911; J. Whitehead, 1885) 
and in Sardinia (Salvadori, 1865; Brooke, 1873; Giglioli, 1889-91). It is very common 
in Sicily (Malherbe, 1843; Giglioli, 1889-91), and in Malta it is not particularly rare 
(C. A. Wright, 1864; Despott, 1917). Giglioli’s (1889-91) investigations in Italy show that the 
species winters throughout the Peninsula, from Calabria in the south, northward to Piedmont. It 
Switzerland suitable localities throughout Switzerland (Fatio, 1904), and in western 

districts of the former German Empire, specifically in Lorraine (d’Hamonville, 1895), 
the Rhine Palatinate (W. and T. Heussler, 1896), the Rhine Provinces (Le Roi, 1906- 
07), in Brimswick (R. Blasius, 1896), southern Saxony (Heyder, 1913) and Mecklenburg (WUstnei, 
Luxem- 1902). La Fontaine (1865-72) states that it is resident in Luxembourg. In the 

bourg former Austro-Hungarian Empire, it winters in Bohemia (Fritsch, 1872) and in the 

Austria- Tyrol (Althammer, 1857), but particularly commonly in Dalmatia (Kolombatovic, 
Hungary 1903; Kollibay, 1904). A few winter in Hungary also (Hung. Ornith. Club). Through- 























out the Balkans the species is abundant in winter, specifically in Montenegro (Reiser and Fiihrer, 
1896), in Greece (von der Miihle, 1844; Kriiper, 1862; Lindermayer, 1860; Reiser, 

1905), on the Cyclades (Erhard, 1858), in Epirus and Albania (Powys, 1860; Lilford, 
fide Dresser, 1871-81; Sperling, fide Dresser, 1871-81), in Macedonia (Elwes and Buckley, 1870; 
Sladen, 1917), at Constantinople (Braun, 1908), and in Bessarabia (Radakoff, 1881). The species 
winters also in the former Russian Empire, in Poland (Taczanowski, 1888; Katin, Poland 
1912), sparingly at Petrograd (Buchner, 1887; Deditius, 1885; Bianchi, 1907), rarely 
in Esthonia and Livonia (Loudon, 1909), and likewise in Novgorod (Bianchi, 1910), 

Pskov (Zarudny, 1910), Kazan (Russki, 1893), Moscow (Menzbier, 1881, 1883; Lorenz, 1892), Orel 
(Daniloff, 1864), southern Russia (von Nordmann, 1840; Valkh, 1911; von Zedlitz, 1917) and the 
Crimea (Radde, 1854). In the Caucasus the species is resident (Radde, 1884; See- 
bohm, 1882). 

In Africa the species is foimd in winter not rarely in the west as far south as the Canaries, where 
it appears regularly in the cold season (Meade-Waldo, 1893; Cabrera y Diaz, 1893-94; Canary 
Bolle, 1857; Bannerman, 1919) and the Madeiras (Harcourt, 1851; Godman, 1866). 

On the mainland it is abundant in Morocco (Carstensen, 1852; Irby, 1875; Drake, 

1867; S. G. Reid, 1885; H. and A. Vaucher, 1915), and in Algeria (Loche, 1867; Roths- 
child and Hartert, 1912; Menegaux, 1919) where it extends south to the Atlas (Salvin, 

1859) and the northern Sahara (Tristram, 1860). Schweppenburg (1918) found feathers of the Mal- 
lard in the Tuareg region of the Sahara, and states that Foureau took specimens in Ain Taiba and 
near In-Azaoua (21° north latitude). It is probably less abundant in Tunis, but nevertheless is com- 
mon there (Talamon, 1904; Kdnig, 1888; Whitaker, 1905). In Egypt the species is 
abundant in the Delta (von Heuglin, 1873; Shelley, 1872), not common, however, at 
Giza (NicoU, 1909) where of course it is much persecuted, but it occurs in Nubia (Shel- 
ley, 1872; A. L. Adams, 1864) and according to Riippell (1845), even in Abyssinia. 

This last statement is insufficiently proved. It seems not to winter on the White Nile, 
and I did not see it in the eastern Sudan. A. Chapman (1921) quotes Captain Burges, who says that 
in many years’ shooting near Khartum he killed only one Mallard and heard of another taken near 
Shendi, fifty miles farther north. The species has been met with on Socotra Island (Tristram, 1898) 
and at Aden (Barnes, 1893; Yerbury, Reichenow, 1900). Von Heuglin (1873) states that it is 
found at Suez and that he met with it once in Arabia Petraea. 

In Asia the species was said by Tristram (1884) to be common in winter in Palestine but a more 
recent author (Meinertzhagen, 1920) describes it as rare. On Cyprus (Lilford, 1889; Bucknill, 1910) 
as well as in various parts of Asia Minor, it is plentiful. For example, Danford (1878, 1880) found 
it in “swarms” in the Taurus region, and met with a few on the Cilician Range. Weigold (1913) 
has recorded it from the Meander River, and Strickland (1836) from Smyrna. The species very 
likely winters throughout the interior as well as on the coast of the Black Sea. Meinertzhagen (1914) 
and Stoneham (1919) describe it as common in Mesopotamia. It has been taken at Fao, at the head 
of the Persian Gulf (Sharpe, 1891) and Zarudny (1911) states that it winters in Persia pgj.gj^ 
in the Mesopotamian and Zagross regions, as well as in Kuhistan, Kirman, the Seistan, 

Parapamis, Chorassan and south Caspian distriets. Radde (1886) states that it is common on the 
southwest Caspian in winter, and it winters also in Transcaspia (Radde and Walter, 1889; Stolz- 
mann, 1893) and in Bokhara (Carruthers, 1910). According to O. B. St. John 
(1889) it is a common winter bird in southern Afghanistan, and according to Zarudny 
(1911), in northern Baluchistan. Meinertzhagen (1920) has recorded it for Quetta, and C. H. T. 
Whitehead (1909) says it is common in Kohat and Kurram. To the north of Persia it winters all over 
Turkestan (Dresser, 1876), most likely also in Astrakhan, and at least in part of the Turkestan 
Kirgis. Owing to lack of sufficient information it is impossible to define its northern Central Asia 
wintering limit in western Siberia. Travellers have reported open water with “ducks” West Siberia 









in Mongolia in midwinter and I see no reason why the species should not winter in suitable local- 
ities in Asia, north to the latitude of Lake Baikal. According to Pallas (1831) it does 
winter on the Angara River. Radde (1863) was, however, unable to reaffirm this ob- 
servation, and on the whole it seems advisable to limit the statement of range somewhat, if only for 
the sake of conservatism. I believe that a line drawn from Kazan, Russia, southeast to Lake Issyk- 
kul will define the northern wintering limit in this region. It has been met with in the Tian-shan in 
Eastern various localities west to east (Lbnnberg, 1905; Schalow, 1901, 1908; Pleske, 1892; 

Turkestan Laubmann, 1913) and according to Koslov (1899) it winters in the Lake Bagrasch-kul 

district, as well as in the mountains of northern Tibet, where Prjevalski (1878) also 
Tibet found it wintering on the Tsaidam swamps. In other words, the evidence indicates 

that the birds winter in central Asia south of a line drawn from the Tian-shan, eastward along the 
42d and 43d parallels of latitude. South of theTian-shan the species winters abundantly in Kashgaria 
and Yarkand (Scully, 1876; Koslov, 1899), and in Kashmir, where it is resident (Scully, 1881; Hume 
and Marshall, 1879; Baker, 1908; Blanford, 1898). There is considerable doubt as to its status in 
India, where it is common in winter in the northwestern districts, but rare in the cen- 
tral and eastern parts, being totally lacking in the southern regions and in Ceylon. 
Blanford’s (1898) resume covers the situation fairly well. He says it is common in the western Punjab 
and Sind, not uncommon in the northwest Provinces, Oudh, and Behar, and of occasional occurrence 
in Guzerat, the Central Indian .Agency, the Deccan (presumably only the northern part), Bengal and 
northern Burma. To this may be added the more detailed statements of Hume and Marshall (1879) 
that it is not uncommon in Kumaon and Nepal, but rare in the west in Cutch, Kathiawar and south- 
ern Bombay. Baker’s (1921) investigations have made its status in the eastern parts more definite. 
After stating that a few have been taken in Rajputana and northern Bombay as well as in the Cen- 
tral Provinces, he goes on to say that it occurs in Assam and Jessore. He found it not very rare in 
Cachar, and states that it has occurred in Sylhet. There are only three records for Manipur, and but 
two for Burma, one of them as far south as Mandalay! Passing eastward to southern China the 
Southern species has been taken in Yunnan (Ingram, 1912; R. C. and Y. B. Andrews, 1918; 

China H. R. Davies, 1909) and I am inclined to think that north of the Malay Peninsula the 

species winters not much south of the Tropic of Cancer. A duck described as ^4 no,? saZradon’i from 
the Island of Sumba is a domestic Mallard (Biittikofer, 1896). Throughout China it is apparently 
China abundant (David and Oustalet, 1877), and has been recorded specifically from Formosa 

(R. Swinhoe, 1863; Uchida, 1912) and Amoy (R. Swinhoe, 1860; Vaughan and Jones, 
1913), from Foochow and Swatow (La Touche, 1892), from Kiauchow (Kleinschmidt, 1913) from 
Wei-hai-wei (K. H. Jones, 1911), and from Ningpo and Peking (R. Swinhoe, 1861; Walton, 1903; 
Blackwelder, 1907). In the interior it was found at Kin-kiang (Seebohm, 1884) and in Hupeh 
(Thayer and Bangs, 1912; La Touche, 1922). It w'as met with by E. H. Wilson (1913) at Kiating, 
Szechwan Province, and Thayer and Bangs have also recorded it from this region. Both Deditius 
(1886) and Berezowski and Bianchi (1891) have reported it from Kan-su Province, where it is 
apparently common. Sowerby (1912) met with it north of Hsinan Fu. According to Ogawa (l905) 
it has been taken on the Loo-choo Islands, namely, on Omami-Oshima and on Tanegashima, being 
Japan pretty common on the former island. The sjjecies is very common in southern Japan 

Yezo (Blakiston and Pryer, 1882; Seebohm, 1890) extending north throughout Yezo and 

Kuriles on the Kuriles, wherever there may be suitable localities. On the mainland it winters 

Korea Jn Korea (Taczanowski, 1887, 1888) and in small numbers in the Ussuri region (Dor- 

ries, 1888) as well as on the coasts of the Japanese Sea (Prjevalski, 1878). Nikolski {fide Taczanow- 
Saghalin states that it winters in the southern parts of Saghalin Island, and von 

Kam h tk (1859) extends this to include the central portion. Long ago Pallas (1831) 

and recently von Ditmar (1900) recorded its wintering in Kamchatka, probably in 
the southern part, and this statement seems not unlikely in view of the fact that the species is 



resident on Bering Island, though rare in -sdnter (Stejneger, 1885; Bianchi, 1909). It may be well 
to mention here that according to Moulton’s (1914) catalogue there is a specimen in 
the Sarawak Museum in Borneo, coming from that island. This is the only record 
I find for the West Indies. 


One approaches this subject with the greatest hesitation, because it is so difficult to write any com- 
prehensive story of the seasonal movements of so cosmopolitan a species. Besides, we have to admit 
that we know almost nothing about the extent of territory which the individual covers; and the more 
records of banded ducks we get, the more complicated does the problem become. I propose, there- 
fore, to outline seasonal movements, and then apply them to the various parts of the Mallard’s 

This duck undoubtedly becomes resident wherever it can maintain itself throughout the year. 
The Greenland Mallard, which is fairly distinct, forms a group entirely isolated. The Iceland Mallard 
is not so distinct, and is certainly not an absolutely isolated group. Groups, apparently strictly 
resident, occur in many other places, but they have produced no local varieties. 

In Mallards, as in probably all our northern river ducks, the males leave the female during incuba- 
tion, mostly well before the young are hatched. These males may make a considerable excursion 
to some safe retreat, where they congregate and moult. How far these males may travel after they 
have moulted, and before there is any southward movement, we do not know, but we suspect from 
records of banded birds at Bear River in Utah and from other sources, that there may be con- 
siderable summer flights, very likely in a northerly direction. The young birds may even participate 
in such flights. However that may be, there is need of very intensive banding of both young and old 
birds in many different localities, besides observation on banded birds where they may be frequently 
trapped to see how long the individual tarries in one place. In all places where a definite migration 
takes place, the females and young of the year move before the old males. This is borne out by 
many scattered observations such as those of Leopold (1919a) and Hollister (1920a) for the autumn 
migration, and it also applies to the winter distribution. Not only do the males migrate in general 
later, but they stay farther north. Major Allan Brooks made some interesting sex counts of large 
numbers of various ducks at Comox, British Columbia, and he tells me that about the 10th of 
February there were three males to one female Mallard, but the last of the month, with others arriv- 
ing from the south, the sexes were nearly equal. As the same phenomenon w'as seen in various other 
species it no doubt points to some general principle, the value of which to the species it is difficult 
to imagine. Some time during the beginning of migration the sexes must become approximately 
even, for final pairing takes place at that time, and large bodies of ducks can be easily seen to be 
made up of pairs, as soon as they settle and begin to feed. 

In North America, we have a large passage area, that is, an area over which very few birds either 
breed or winter; and this is formed by the north-central and northeastern States with parts of 
Ontario. Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, 
Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New A’ork are chiefly passage areas, but more ducks breed there now 
than before spring shooting was stopped. The great bulk of Mallards are bred in the north and west, 
and these winter in large part on the Gulf coast. Many, however, head southeastward instead of 
south, and just touch southern New England en route, distributing themselves all the way from 
Long Island Sound to Florida, becoming more plentiful as one approaches South Carolina. Now the 
Mallards that take this journey do not stay very long on the Atlantic coast, but work their way 
south, so that after January 1st, the species is rare at Currituck, North Carolina, and after February 
1st, practically absent. These ducks must work back to their breeding grounds over a different 
route, for they are not present on the North Atlantic coast in spring. Cook apparently did not 
believe that such elliptical journeys were performed by any of our Anatidce except the Brant, but I 



must say that I believe the spring route is different from the autumn route in several of the western 
breeding species that come to our east coast. A number of wild Mallards which were trapped for me 
at Avery Isle, Louisiana, were liberated at Wenham, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1917, and 
these w'ere shot all the way down the coast, the following autumn, to near their former station in 
Louisiana, and finally two were taken, back at their breeding ground in North Dakota and .\lberta. 
Mallards tagged by Jack Miner in Kingsville, Ontario, did not apparently go to the Atlantic coast, 
as one would expect, but were shot at Ravenswood, West Virginia; Greenwood, Ohio; Martha, 
Tennessee; two in Kentucky; one in Bakersville, Missouri, and one in Indiana, besides one in Guey- 
dan, Louisiana. I do not know the dates of these records. Many Mallards banded at Port Perry, 
Ontario, north of Lake Ontario, in early autunm flew down the Ohio and Mississippi valleys to the 
Gulf coast, and also across to the Atlantic coast, where they were taken from Virginia to Florida. 
Others trapped in Louisiana and released at Ithaca, New York, showed the same tendency that my 
own did, namely, to return to Louisiana and later to a northwestern breeding area. They could 
not be lured away from their original migration route simply by transportation. This fact is of 
some importance in any attempt to introduce Mallards. 

In the last year or two a very large number of Mallards have been banded near Brovming, Illinois, 
on the Sanganois Club grounds and also at Cuivre Isle, near Peruque, Missouri (U.S.B.S. records). 
Many hundreds of these birds have already been shot, most of them the first year after banding, and 
these will eventually tell an interesting story. For instance we will know the exact breeding ground of 
certain groups, their east and west dispersal, their winter quarters, the length of time spent in 
migrating and the per cent of artificial mortality they are subjected to en route. One can already see 
that these ducks tend to tarry for a long time in the upper Mississippi Valley before seeking the 
Gulf coast, that they follow a well-defined route from southern Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the 
Dakotas to southern Louisiana and Mississippi, and that in places twenty per cent are shot before 
they get far away from the trapping station. 

Out of 72 adults banded at Bear River, Utah, in September, 1914-15 and 1916, there were 22 
returns (Wetmore, MS.). These extend as far west as central California and as far east as Texas, 
southeastern Idaho and other points. 

Now as to dates of migration there is nothing very unusual about the Mallard. It is not an early 
autumn migrant, being well behind the Pintail, Shoveller and Blue-winged Teal, but on the way 
north it takes advantage of every bit of open water and arrives wdth the first ducks pushing up 
the Mississippi Valley. During autumn the species straggles very rarely to Newfoundland (J. and 
J. M. Macoun, 1909) and there are a few records for Labrador, namely, Davis Inlet and the mouth 
of the Koksoak, and Fort Chimo (Packard, 1891) and Okak (Hantzsch, 1908). 

Enumeration of dates of arrival and departure would be tedious, and they are well summed up by 
Cooke (1906). The northern States are reached in the second half of September. The birds become 
plentiful two or three weeks later and stay until frozen out. They reach Texas and the southern 
States in the first half of October, but increase in numbers for a month at least. Mcllhenny (1916) 
mentions a specimen, which, transported in winter from the Gulf coast of Louisiana to Wisconsin, 
was tagged there and the very next winter w’as taken at the same place in Louisiana. Those Mallards 
breeding in .\laska and on the North Pacific coast probably do not, as individuals, move far to the 
south, on account of the more uniform winters, but great numbers visit the interior valleys of Cali- 
fornia, and the mouth of the Colorado River. The migration is of course somewhat later on the 
Pacific coast. A few stragglers, probably from the Alaskan peninsula or the Aleutian Islands, reach 
the Hawaiian Islands. 

In western Europe the Mallard tends to become almost sedentary : but northern-bred groups arrive 
in the winter to join the local birds. Of course much of the breeding stock has been extirpated, but 
originally there must have been stationary, or nearly stationary groups everywhere, with little terri- 
tory, except in the far north, that could be termed strictly a passage area. In general European Mai- 



lards do not migrate as far as Teals or Pintails, usually not over 50 or 100 miles. Returns from many 
banded Mallards in England show how extremely local the home-bred stock is. These records are 
summed up in the reports of the British marking experiments in British Birds. A note by Poncins 
(1917) has brought out the same facts, and he considers the Mallards reared in France just as local as 
the English ones. To show how very local the British stock is we might note that of 80 ringed as 
nestlings and afterwards recovered, only two were reported outside of England. One of these was 
from Danzig, east Prussia, and the other from Nord, France. Part of this lot were hand-reared birds, 
but this seemed to make little or no difference in their ultimate distribution. They belonged to an 
extremely sedentary group. 

With adult Mallards banded in England between September and March (mostly in February) 
the results are different as we should expect. Out of 60 ringed in Wigtownshire, 52 were recovered 
at home and 8 away from home, in various localities, including Ireland, the Faroes, Finland, 
Sweden, Friesland, and Swedish Lapland (British Birds). Adult Mallards banded in Holland, mostly 
in the spring (April), show a great many local records but some from Germany, Sweden, Denmark, 
Finland, etc. (van Oort, Ardea, vols. 1-4, 1912-1915; see recent summary bj' Thomson, 1923). 

Mallards that breed farther north, in Kurland, were shown by Thienemann (l915) to have taken a 
course southwesterly along the coast, one covering a distance of 1400 kilometers to Belgium, and one 
1600 kilometers to Plancy, northern France. Another young of the year banded in eastern Prussia, was 
taken the following March near Olmiitz, Moravia, a distance of 570 kilometers south-southwest, 
but it may have been on its way north by an inland route. Others showed a tendency to return to 
their birthplace. These records are interesting because they show a probable northeast to south- 
west trend for migrants from Scandinavia and the Baltic lands. Moreover, although the British 
Mallards that have been banded were mostly the local breeding stock, there are a few that show an 
interchange with Danzig, east Prussia, France, and Swedish Lapland. One marked in Finland was 
shot in Scotland the same year (London Field, vol. 129, p. 112, 1917). 

Now it is interesting to note that a group of much smaller Mallards which arrive at the British 
Isles in winter and seem to prefer the coast, have long been recognized by sportsmen and profes- 
sional gunners. They are said to weigh very much less than the home-bred ducks and are usually 
under two pounds. So great is the difference in size that a smaller price is paid for them in the 
markets. Very likely this difference in weight is due to poorer living conditions in their northern 
home, or later nesting, but some observers in the British Isles are inclined to consider these “foreign” 
birds as a distinctly smaller Scandinavian race with a wing of only 270-273 mm. (A. Chapman, 
1889; Smalley, 1919; Beveridge, 1919). However, a small Scandinavian race was not found by 
Hartert (1920) so perhaps these birds are from Iceland. The home-bred British birds were thought 
by Payne-Gallwey (1886) to suffer more from frost than the small northern ducks. I feel sure that 
there is something significant about all these reports, for in the Mississippi Valley intelligent sports- 
men recognize a very late flight of small Mallards which have even been given local names, such as 
Frosty-biUs, Snow Mallards, Ice-breakers, etc. The banding of some of these might bring interesting 

In western Europe the migration is later in the autunm and earlier in the spring than in North 
America, and it may be found that in spring, birds return by a more inland route. In Asia, where 
extremes of climate are much greater, and there are large central deserts, we find a more pronounced 
passage area, and a much greater north to south excursion. Prjevalski (Deditius, 1886) found the 
species migrating across the deserts of northern Tibet in great numbers. The dates of arrival and 
departure do not differ greatly from those found in the interior of North America. In the north, 
migration starts early and ends early; in the south it begins late and ends late. We really do not 
know anything about the direction of migration routes in different parts of Asia, but since the 
central parts are so cut up with mountains, deserts and inland seas, with very irregular river systems, 
we must assume that the picture is a very complicated one. Although there must be nearly sedentary 



groups established here and there, particularly in the southern parts of the range, these groups are 
swelled during the winter by far-northern migrants, or themselves move short distances to make way 
for their northern brothers. 


In discussing the habits of the Mallard, one inevitably includes the life-history of 
most of the surface-feeding ducks (AnatinoB) of the northern hemisphere, for all 
members of the genus Anas are, biologically speaking, remarkably similar. The 
present species is not only one of the most abundant, but it is also one of the most 
widely distributed of all birds. In consequence, the literature is almost endless, 
and includes the whole subject of duck-shooting in all ages, and over half the 
surface of the globe. Obviously, then, nothing short of a monograph could do the 
subject justice, and I must here confine myself to a brief and condensed survey. 

Haunts. A glance at the map will show that the Mallard flourishes in an infinite 
variety of country, a fact which results in very diverse habits in different regions. 
Its most important characteristic is doubtless a wonderful adaptability, both physi- 
cal and psychological. The first not only enables it to brave the arctic winters of 
Greenland, but also the no less trying conditions on summer breeding grounds in 
Mediterranean lands and in our own Southwest. The second trait leads it to take 
immediate advantage of the presence of man, and no duck becomes tame more rap- 
idly where protection is extended. Perhaps most interesting of all is that peculiar 
psychological complex, so rare in the animal kingdom, which lends itself to complete 
domestication, and this faculty is so pronounced that it removes this species from all 
comparison with other ducks except perhaps the Muscovy. 

Broadly speaking the Mallard is a fresh-water species, preferring fresh or brackish 
marshes, shallow pools well stocked with water plants and animal life, and sluggish 
rivers bordered by reed beds. But it is not at all a particular bird, and can make its 
living in open or wooded, low or high country, wherever vegetable or animal food 
can be gleaned from the land or water. Locally, in northwestern Europe, it can and 
does manage to subsist on tidal flats and estuaries during periods of severe frost, or 
when persistently hunted, but such a practice is never more than temporary, and is 
given up just as soon as inland waters are available. Of course in many regions near 
the coast, the open sea is almost the only refuge for it during the day, and in such 
districts it sits out beyond the breakers all day if the weather be not too rough, 
flighting inland at dusk. Better than any other species, it manages to exist as a 
breeding duck in countries where the marshes have nearly all been reclaimed, as 
in England and other parts of western Europe. 

The Mallard will stand extreme cold, and has become local on some of the open 
streams of southern Greenland, Iceland, Kamchatka and Alaska, where the temper- 



ature drops to 40° below zero (Fahrenheit). In various localities it has been found 
wintering as well as breeding at high altitudes, — for example in our Rocky Moun- 
tains (where I have seen them apparently resident at 6000 feet), in Switzerland 
and in Kashmir. 

ARINESS. The Mallard is wild, and becomes increasingly so through persecu- 
tion. But perhaps it should be called intelligent, rather than shy by nature. If left 
to itself on protected waters and in city parks it soon becomes so tame that it wdll 
allow passers-by to come within five or ten yards, just as our still more wary Black 
Duck does. Naumann (1896-1905) tells of certain individuals that were long pro- 
tected in the German town of Cbthen, and which were accustomed to parade the 
streets and even fiy from one street to the other. In this country many parks are 
frequented by thousands of ducks of this and other species who walk about the lawns 
in close proximity to busy driveways. Wherever it is regularly fed there is almost 
no limit to its sociability with man, but these same birds outside the protected 
area are just as wary as the rest of their kind. In wilder countries where birds are 
less persecuted. Mallards are of course much tamer, but nowadays there are few 
regions within its range that do not echo to the sound of the cheap breech-loader. 
Where suitable laws are enforced the summer season restores their eonfidence, but 
it is extraordinary how little time it takes to make them as wild as ever. Young birds 
on the breeding grounds, as I have seen them in our western States, are by no 
means shy, but the process of education proceeds very rapidly, more rapidly I 
should say, than with most ducks. To quote instances of the wisdom of the adult 
bird would be a waste of time, for every sportsman is but too well posted on this sub- 
ject. Speaking from my own experience, especially as to their behavior when shot 
over live or artificial decoys, I am quite certain that they never equal either Pin- 
tail or Wddgeon in correctly “sizing up” danger spots, or measuring the range of a 
gun. Neither do they ever, excepting perhaps in England, grow so completely noc- 
turnal and almost un-get-at-able as our Red-legged Black Ducks {Anas rubripes 
ruhripes). References to the tameness of the Mallard in various regions may be 
found scattered throughout the literature (Hantzsch, 1905; Hume and Marshall, 
1879; Reiser, 1894), but these can all be explained by local conditions, or seasonal 

Daily Movements. Like all true ducks, the Mallards, before the advent of 
man, probably fed almost entirely by day, seeking small sheltered pools on which to 
spend the night. But now all this is changed. If left alone during the summer they 
feed in their sheltered haunts throughout the day, but the more they are shot at, the 
more they take to large open sheets of water to spend the daylight hours, coming in 
to the grain-fields or smaller marshes after sunset. During migration ducks cannot 



become entirely nocturnal, and their habits in this respect are not fully developed 
until they become localized on their wintering grounds. As a rule the later the 
season, the less they feed by day. The time of the evening flight is largely governed 
by the weather, and the condition of the bird’s crop. On dark stormy evenings, after 
Mallards have been subjected all day to wind and wave, they, like other ducks, will 
seek food and shelter much earlier, even though they are being constantly shot at. 
They feed readily on dark nights but even better on moonlight ones, at which times, 
if they are very shy, they do not flight until long after dark, especially if the evening 
is calm and clear. But it is very rare to find the Mallard exclusively nocturnal in any 
sort of locality. Where it inhabits large tracts of marsh by no means all of the birds 
desert the feeding ground during the day. There are always some individuals whose 
actions are governed by their stomachs rather than by their heads. 

At Currituck Sound, on the coast of North Carolina, where ducks are not com- 
pletely nocturnal in their habits, there are on fair winter days flights to the sea by 
the more wary birds, as soon as a gun is fired or a boat pushed about the marshes. 
Then there is a brief morning flight over the marsh which begins to slacken by eight 
or nine o’clock, after which, if the day be calm, scarcely a duck will move until early 
in the afternoon. It goes without saying that early in the shooting season, fewer 
ducks go to sea than later on. From about two o’clock in the afternoon, there is 
another movement of the ducks that have been resting in the marshes, to the favor- 
ite feeding grounds, but very few return from the sea unless a sudden change of wind 
forces them to seek shelter. This afternoon movement often ceases in an hour or two, 
after which there is a period till sundown when the marsh seems perfectly deserted. 
Hardly has the sun set, however, when the whole scene is changed to one of great 
animation : huge hosts of Mallards, Teals, Widgeons, and diving ducks come in from 
the sea, flying at a great height, but coming lower as the darkness increases, till 
finally the marshes are thickly populated with thousands of ducks, and great rafts 
of trumpeting swans and honking geese. 

The bathing and playing periods, during which they indulge in all sorts of short 
splashing dives and flights, take place in the morning, after their crops are full, and 
before the resting period,, during which they are often seen basking in the sun in 
some out-of-the-way nook or on banks. The play is most actively indulged in by 
young birds just acquiring their full plumage, before they have entirely lost their 
diving habits. 

Migration is performed chiefly at night, but there is no hard-and-fast rule and 
under certain weather conditions, as yet imperfectly understood, ducks and geese 
may migrate all day and halt for the night. 

Gait. In the pure wild species the walk is fast and elegant, though rather 
waddling in character. In specimens only one degree removed from the wild, the 



carriage is more erect and the walk more waddling, while the whole bird has a 
coarser and heavier look, especially about the head and neck. The wild birds carry 
the body almost horizontally, as do Teals, Widgeons and other true ducks. The neck 
is carried well back on the body in a pronounced S-shaped curve. 

Swimming and Diving. The Mallard is as active on the water as any other true 
duck. The swimming position is horizontal, the stern carried lower than in Sheldrakes 
or geese. A characteristic habit of the species is the tipping-up in the water, a position 
in which food can be obtained to a depth of a foot and a half. WTiile feeding in this 
manner the body is kept in the perpendicular position by a movement of the feet. 
The Mallard is, of course, a surface, or shallow-water feeder and loses the habit of 
diving when about two-thirds grown. There are, however, numerous instances of 
adult Mallards diving for food, and when wounded, particularly when wing-broken, 
they can and will swim under water for long distances with only the head appearing 
above water between dives. Shallow, splashing dives are also practiced during play, 
this being seen at its best in young birds just reaching full plumage. They may then 
dive while swimming or from low altitudes during short flights, but they never re- 
main submerged for more than a few seconds. When pursued by raptorial birds, 
even adult Mallards will sometimes dive from the wing, but if on the water, they as- 
sume a crouching attitude, or submerge themselves as far as the neck. Millais ( 1902 ) 
has admirably pictured this last practice in his monograph on the surface-feeding 
ducks of the British Isles. The female is said to be more of an adept both at diving 
and at hiding when crippled (Payne-Gallwey, 1882 ), but I cannot say that I have 
ever noticed much difference. Of course her color makes the hen bird much more 
difficult to see. Another time when adults may practice diving is during the moult 
in summer. Francis Harper writes me that he saw a male in full eclipse in the Atha- 
basca region try to escape by diving. The bird was shot and proved to have shed its 
primaries. In diving when not wounded, the wings are often used, and I think they 
are also opened under water in play antics. Kelso ( 1913 ) thought that the wings 
were never used for propulsion under water but this cannot be the whole truth, and 
I am sure that very young birds spread the wing rudiments while diving. Dr. C. W. 
Townsend, who has paid particular attention to this point, says that, as far as he 
knows. Black Ducks (and this of course means Mallards too) resort to the primitive 
method of “scrambling” with their wings and feet when under water. Semi-domes- 
tic Mallards develop diving habits more readily than wild ones, and they have been 
observed bringing food from the bottom in four or five feet of water. 

Perching. There are a few references to Mallards seen perching on trees. These 
are from central Europe, where it is not particularly rare to find them nesting in ele- 
vated situations. I myself have never seen them perching on anything higher than 
low rocks or submerged stumps. 



Flight. The Mallard is a fast, though not the fastest duck on the wing, for it is 
certainly excelled by the Pintail, Hooded Merganser, and many diving ducks. 
Nevertheless, in mixed flocks, the Mallard shows no tendency to lag behind, and 
keeps in even, compact formations with Pintail, Widgeon, Gadwall, Teal and other 
species. It rises with a sharp upward spring, from either land or water, to a height of 
from ten to fifteen feet in open country, and to a much greater height within a wood. 
It then flies off on a long ascending plane. The females, it should be noted, always 
quack when flushed. The wing-beats are not very rapid, of course much less so than 
in diving ducks or mergansers, and wdth a long up-and-down excursion, which pro- 
duces a sharp whistling sound, especially when heard during still frosty mornings. 
At such times, or on clear nights, the wings produce sounds almost as loud as those 
made by the Golden-eye. The wing-beats of the Mallard are slower than those of 
Teal, and it takes the larger duck much longer to pick up speed or change its course, 
but once on his way I do not think that the Teal can leave him behind. Sportsmen 
are inclined to give Teals credit for more speed than they actually possess, but it is 
really their low, twisting flight, the suddenness of their appearance and their small 
size, rather than their actual speed, which makes them so difficult to bring down. Un- 
fortunately there are no really reliable figures as to the speed of the Mallard over a 
measured course. It has been variously estimated from as low as forty or fifty miles 
to one hundred and twenty miles per hour, which last figure Audubon considers 
within the range of possibility. Baird, Brewer and Ridgway (1884) compute its 
speed as hardly less than a hundred miles per hour. Personally I believe there is a 
tendeney to exaggerate the speed at which they fly. I have many times seen Mal- 
lards and Black Ducks coming up wind during severe gales, when the velocity of the 
wind could not have been more than forty to fifty miles an hour, and at such times 
their progress was exceedingly slow, certainly not over five to ten miles per hour. I 
have even seen them unable to make any headway for many seconds at a time, but 
perhaps these birds, searching out sheltered places as they went, w^ere not exerting 
their full strength. An estimate of the speed of a Pintail is quoted by G. B. Grinnell 
(1901). The observation was made from a train running at fifty-two miles an hour, 
and the Pintail could exceed this speed at will. Another note by C. St. John (1882) 
tells of a Peregrine Falcon who w as unable to gain a yard on a Mallard during a long 
chase. Recently more careful tests of the speed of migrating ducks have been made 
(Meinertzhagen, 1921) and entirely contradict the wild guesses of early writers. In 
those tests the speed varied from 44 to 59 miles, and averaged around 50 miles. This 
does not differ greatly from the speed of migrating Canada Geese measured over 
a course by twm meteorologists, Messrs. S. P. Ferguson and H. H. Clayton. Their 
conclusion w’as that a speed of only 45 miles w’as obtained at an altitude of from 
900 to 1000 feet. 

There is very little real information as to the maximum height at which ducks fly. 



An observation made through a telescope against the moon showed a flock which 
was flve miles away and three thousand feet high (Service, 1903). Judging from the 
height at which geese are often seen, and according to the numerous observations 
made by Gatke in Helgoland, much greater altitudes are often reached; but recent 
observers consider that Gatke overestimated the ordinary altitude of migrants. 
This subject was well summed up by Meinertzhagen (1921) who concluded that 
the bulk of the movement takes place below 3000 feet, mostly at night, and that 
anything above 5000 feet must be considered exceptional. 

No duck is able to glide in the sense that a gull does, but they may scale down- 
ward for long distances with scarcely any wing movement. They can hover, as they 
often do over decoys, with a slight quivering of the wings. In alighting, they almost 
always head up wind, and at such times strike the water in a neat manner, without 
much splashing, particularly if there is a strong breeze. But if the wind is light or at 
their backs they are forced to rear up and “back pedal” with their wings, assuming 
extremely awkward positions which are best shown by instantaneous photographs. 
Ducks do, at times, alight by mistake on thin, clear ice, affording then an amusing 
sight, for they slide long distances and even turn somersaults before their headway 
is checked. 

Mallards do not, as a rule, travel in very large flocks, certainly not in such aggre- 
gations as do Widgeons, Teals and Pintails. During the middle of the winter the 
flocks begin to break into pairs after they settle down to feed, and when single pairs 
are flying about, the female almost always leads. Flocks of twenty or thirty might 
be spoken of as typical, and although companies numbering thousands may be seen 
in favorite feeding areas, these invariably break up into smaller flocks when flushed. 
On migration they travel usually by night, though in severe weather they may 
often be seen migrating by day, or in clear weather before sunrise. On short flights 
about the feeding grounds there is no particular formation. Large numbers often 
straggle out in irregular clouds. On migration, however, though not frequently ob- 
serving regular V- or arrow-shapes, they fall into orderly wedge-shaped flocks or long 
wavering slanting lines which change continuously. Such flocks seldom make a noise, 
though I have heard occasional low chuckling notes when they were near enough. 

Identification of Mallards on the wing is usually easy. The large size and striking 
color-pattern of the male is evident at a long distance, but in poor light it is not pos- 
sible to tell Mallards from Black Ducks. The light color and prominent wing-bars 
of the female make her conspicuous at even greater ranges. Both Mallards and 
Black Ducks have a wing “arc” which is rather characteristic; that is the wings 
(except when the bird is rising rapidly) are not depressed much below the level of 
the body. 

Sense Organs. There seems to be a deep-rooted conviction among sportsmen 



and professional gunners, that ducks, and particularly Mallards and Black Ducks, 
have a highly developed sense of smell. All I can say is that I have always sought 
for evidence on this point and never found any. I have often stood in a shooting 
stand, both in the daytime and at night, and allowed tobacco smoke to blow over 
ducks only a few yards away among the decoys, without their paying the least at- 
tention to it. I have seen hundreds of flocks of Black Ducks and Mallards swim 
directly up wind toward a shooting stand, and never could see that they were any 
more difficult to decoy under these conditions. All ducks are suspicious if there is 
flat calm water under a bank, and approach it cautiously. It is usually maintained 
that ducks will not fly up wind very close to a concealed gunner, but this peculiarity 
is probably due to their being afraid to approach black water under a bank, and to 
the fact that they see very much better when flying straight toward the shooter than 
when going broadside to him. Helm (in Naumann, 1896-1905) says he found no 
evidence of sense of smell in his twenty-five years’ experience, although the elder 
Naumann was convinced of it. 

Hearing. Mallards are as easily frightened by a noise as any species of duck. 
Certainly they are more difficult to stalk than diving ducks, Teals or Widgeons, but 
they are not usually as acute in this respect as the Black Ducks. When tipping 
up for food the Mallard is unable to hear anything, and this can easily be proved 
by running down upon ducks that have their heads under water. 

Sight. Their powers of sight are in many respects very limited. During flight 
they do not notice even conspicuous objects unless these are in motion, but as soon 
as they have alighted, with upstretched neck and keen eye they take in all suspicious 
objects in a very few seconds, especially if there is the least movement. Ducks see 
very little at night, as any one must know who has sculled about in a ducking float 
on moonlight nights. In thick, misty or stormy weather all ducks lose much of their 
powers of vision, becoming tamer in every respect. An interesting faculty, which is 
well developed in the Mallard, but not so well as in the geese, is their ability to note 
very high-flying birds. Man sees little of what goes on directly above him, but if the 
shooter watches his Mallard decoy ducks he will often see them cock their heads 
slightly to one side, which always signifies the presence of a strange bird overhead, 
often so high that it is difficult to see. Millais (1902) thinks that the eyesight of all 
ducks and geese is far superior to that of man, but he doubts if Mallards have such 
extraordinary vision as do Widgeons or Brant Geese. It is quite evident that when 
looking straight up they can see objects which are invisible to man. 

Touch. This highly developed sense will be discussed in connection with the 
feeding habits. 



Association with other Species. In eastern North America the Mallard is 
commonly seen with the Black Duck during the winter months, and it associates 
less freely with Widgeon, Pintail and Teal, in fact with all other surface-feeding 
ducks. In the Old World its habits are similar, but Naumann (1896-1905) says it 
will not associate with geese, though it gets along well with swans. In the Ussuri 
region of eastern Siberia the Mallard w'as found chiefly with Pintail, Falcated Teal 
and Formosan Teal (Taczanowski, 1893), while at other times Teal were seen leading 
flocks of Mallards (Dbrries, 1888). A few Mallard nests have been found which con- 
tained eggs of other species, but such instances are far less common than among 
diving ducks. Mallard and Teal eggs were found in the same nest in northeastern 
Montana (Willett, 1906), and in England a Mallard is known to have laid its 
eggs in a nest already occupied by a Coot (Baker, 1908). A nest mentioned by 
Thienemann (1903) contained eggs of both Mallard and Pochard. Another nest has 
been described in a tree containing nests of the Hooded Crow and the Great Reed 
Warbler (Lintia, 1909). Jardine (in A. Wilson, 1832) states that he once took a Wild 
Duck’s nest on a knoll of heather which was within ten yards of the nest of a Pere- 
grine Falcon, so that the tenants could not help seeing each other in passing to and 
from their nests. Wiistnei (1900) found some Mallards nesting with a colony of one 
hundred and fifty gulls, and von Mojsisovics (1886) met with others nesting in close 
proximity to a heron colony. In the British Isles a nest was found containing one 
Mallard’s egg, eight Teal’s eggs and various pheasants’ eggs (W. G. Clarke, 1897). 
Barfod (Mitth. Naturwiss. Ver. Steiermark) tells of a Mallard nesting with a Marsh 
Hawk {Circus ceruginosus) in Denmark. Mallard’s eggs have also been found in nests 
of the Bean Goose (Hodek, Schwalbe, 1876). The most remarkable duck’s nest that 
I ever heard of was found in 1921 by Mr. A. Wolfe, of Edmonton, Alberta, who wrote 
me about it. In this nest four species of ducks had deposited eggs. Five eggs were 
Mallard’s, four Shoveller’s, five Red-head’s, and two Canvas-back’s. A Mallard was 

Voice. Every one is familiar with the note of the Domestic Duck, which varies 
considerably with different breeds, but the note of wild birds is finer, higher pitched 
and less coarse. The male cannot quack, but has a low reed-like weeb which, in spite 
of its being low, can be heard for several hundred yards on a clear still day. The 
high-pitched quacking note of the female, which varies greatly in different individ- 
uals, sometimes low, and sometimes very high, complaining and shrill, can be heard 
a great distance over the water, certainly for more than a mile if conditions are fa- 
vorable. These quacking notes are often linked together into a prolonged call, and 
this is regarded by Heinroth (1911) as the note of attraction used during the winter 
and breeding season. The single drawn-out quack is an expression of fear, and this 
is heard also very commonly when the female is leading her young. A still lower 



quacking note, corresponding to the clucking of the hen is also heard. Other and 
more complicated language is used when the female is “hounding on” the male, at 
which time, with a peculiar head-and-bill movement, she scolds away over her 
shoulder with a queggeggegegqueggegeg. This “clucking” note seems to be used in 
other ways, for instance in expectation of food, and it is sometimes heard when the 
bird is on the wing. At night one hears from a feeding flock long-drawn calls from 
the female, very high pitched for the first few syllables, and gradually decreasing in 
tone until they become inaudible amidst the noise made by the “dibbling” birds. 
The male note has much less variety, but during excitement the notes are shortened 
and run together. According to Heinroth the drake’s note may also be varied into a 
note of attraction used when the pair are searching for a nesting site, though I must 
confess that I have never distinguished anything of the sort. The drake does, how- 
ever, have an entirely different call, a short high-pitched w’histle, audible only for 
a short distance; it is used during the breeding season and particularly after the 
mating act. Other low notes are heard during the display. 

The peculiar bony enlargement of the trachea in males w'as described by Latham 
and Romsey in 1798, and by many writers since that time. It is large, left-sided, and 
connects directly with the left bronchus, probably affecting the voice by diverting the 
column of air. This tracheal bulb is already indicated in embryos ten days old, and 
in both sexes. But in females it begins to retrogress after the twenty-seventh day, 
till finally it disappears (Gadow, 1890). The downy young “peep,” as in all true 
ducks, and later on utter a note which is something between a quack and the drake’s 
note. The females are able to quack, though in a coarse rudimentary way, soon 
after the first plumage is assumed. But usually one can tell sex sooner by the color 
of the bill and plumage than by the sound of the voice. 

Food. Almost all sorts of aquatic plants, every kind of grain, beech-nuts, acorns 
and other upland foods have been found in the crops of Mallards. The birds are so 
omnivorous that though chiefly vegetable feeders, all kinds of aquatic animals are 
also eaten. Some of the more unusual “finds” will be mentioned below. For the nor- 
mal diet by far the best study is that by McAtee (1918), but even this is chiefly con- 
cerned with the winter food, and his specimens were drawn largely from the southern 
States of the Union, Louisiana being much more heavily represented than any other 
State. This analysis is based on 1725 gizzards, many of them accompanied by w'ell- 
filled gullets. It shows that the Mallard is a vegetable feeder, for 90.5% of the 
entire contents consisted of plant food, but the summer food of course contains a 
much higher proportion of animal matter. Different families of plants were repre- 
sented as follows: sedges, 21.62%; grasses, 13.39%; smartweeds, 9.83%; pondweeds, 
8.23%; duckweeds, 6.01%; coontails, 5.97%; wild celery and its allies, 4.26%; 
water elm and hackberries, 4.11%; wapato (duck potato) and its allies, 3.54%; 



acorns, 2.34%; while numerous minor items make up the remainder. The animal 
food is extremely varied and falls into five main groups, of which mollusks consti- 
tute 5.73%, insects, 2.67%, fishes, 0.47%, crustaceans, 0.35% and miscellaneous, 
0.25% of the whole diet. Among the unusual animal foods were remains of frogs 
(found in 19 stomachs), nematode worms, fresh-w'ater bryozoans, marine wmrms, 
earthworms, w'ater mites and spiders. 

I must confess here that the food consumed during the early summer months has 
been much less carefully investigated for all ducks. We do know, however, that 
animal food is a far larger item at that time, and that in young birds for the first six 
weeks it is almost exclusively of this nature. 

By far the most exhaustive account of the food of the Mallard in western Europe 
is to be found in Naumann (1896-1905). According to him the favorite vegetable 
food is the seed of floating manna-grass {Glyceria fluitans) , while among grains they 
show a partiality for barley and oats. The young are particularly fond of duckweed, 
and the various animals found on it. I have already mentioned the fact that in severe 
weather the Mallard in Europe becomes marine in its habits. At such times the food 
may be very similar to the winter food of our Black Duck. Even in July and August 
Mallards have been forced by persecution to resort to salt flats. W. Thompson 
(1851) cites a stomach of one in Ireland which contained an eel four inches in length, 
a crab an inch broad, 948 univalve and bivalve shell-fish of nine species, and 4500 
seeds of eel-grass {Zostera marina). Thirty-three sticklebacks have been found in a 
single crop (London Field, April, 1892). In this connection McAtee cites one stomach 
from Louisiana that contained 28,160 seeds of a bulrush, 8700 of another sedge, 
35,840 of primrose willow, and about 2560 duckweeds, a total of more than 75,200 
items. Another stomach contained 102,400 seeds of primrose willow, which, if sowed 
each one foot apart, would have sufficed to cover twm and a half acres of ground. 
In Greenland the winter food of Mallards consists of small shell-fish such as 
Margarita helicina, Modiolaria and Tellina besides crustaceans (Winge, 1899). 
Flapper Mallards in England have been found with their stomachs distended wdth 
caddis-worm cases, some with larvae, others without (Corbin, 1888). 

With such an omnivorous bird almost every substance is occasionally eaten. In 
Saxony several have been killed with small particles of gold in the stomach, one of 
which weighed 47 mg. (Rey, 1898). They have even been accused of killing trout in 
streams, and in England one was seen to swallow a trout six to seven inches long 
(Armistead, 1888; Mitford, 1888). Their habits are not always cleanly, Audubon 
speaks of their swallowing offal and garbage, even putrid fish, snakes and small 
quadrupeds. On the lower Columbia River (Washington) they have been found feed- 
ing on decaying salmon in February, which rendered the flesh of the birds unfit for 
food (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909). Sanford (in Sanford, Bishop and Van Dyke, 
19031 and several Government collectors speak of their feeding on the maggots in 



dead salmon. Near Juneau, Alaska, they live during the winter on mussel and bar- 
nacle beds and get very rank (A. M. Bailey, MS.). Decaying vegetable matter also 
is occasionally consumed. In Scotland, C. St. John (1882) found them eating the 
remnants of diseased potatoes, and preferring them even to corn. In Ayrshire forty 
or fifty Mallards would visit one potato pit (R. Gray, 1871). One writer speaks of 
their going to potato fields at night to feed on the small potatoes which lie about 
upon the surface, and they are said to eat rotten apples in Sussex (Owen, 1895). The 
following fruits have occasionally been found in their stomachs: blackberries in 
Cheshire (H. W. Robinson, 1917), blueberries in Norway (Collett, 1869), plums 
and similar fruits (Naumann, 1896-1905). Their habit of feeding in oak woods has 
already been mentioned, but this practice is probably not so common as formerly. 
A large flock feeding in a wood is said not to run along the ground as might be sup- 
posed, but the hindmost ones constantly fly over those in front, leap-frog fashion, 
so that the progress is at least ten miles an hour, the whole producing a “roar like 
distant thunder” (Gasper, 1893). During a hard winter they fed so commonly on 
acorns in an English park that the following year hundreds of acres were covered 
with seedling oaks (Feilden, 1891). 

Attention has recently been called to the swallowing of mosquito larvae by 
Mallards (McAtee, Auk, vol. 28, p. 287, 1911) and Dixon has gone so far as to recom- 
mend the keeping of tame Mallards as a means of exterminating mosquitoes on in- 
fested ponds. He quotes his own experiments in this direction (Journ. Amer. Med. 
Assoc., p. 1203, 1914). Tame birds have been very useful in exterminating slugs from 
vegetable gardens. W. Thompson (1851) enters into this subject in some detail. 
Very degenerate habits are occasionally developed among semi-domesticated birds. 
They have been known to kill and eat sparrows, and to plunder the nests of smaller 
birds (Liebe, Ornith. Monatsschr., 1894, p. 15; Wacquant, ib{d., p. 89). 

Before leaving the subject of food, the Mallard’s habit of eating shot should be 
mentioned. It w’as noted in Italy as long ago as 1786, and has apparently caused the 
death of many birds there (Savi, 1827-31, vol. 3, p. 161). G. B. Grinnell (1901) 
called attention to this phenomenon as seen in specimens taken in Texas and North 
Carolina. The subject has often been discussed in sportsmen’s journals in this coun- 
try, and W. L. Dawson and Bowles (1909) mention two Mallards found on the 
Nisqually Flats, Washington, one of which contained nineteen and the other twenty- 
seven pellets, while there were marked pathological lesions in the stomachs and large 
intestines. Recent experiments by the United States Biological Survey (Wetmore, 
1919) show that two or three number-six shot ingested will sometimes cause death, 
and that six pellets are always fatal. Mallards seem to eat shot much oftener than 
other ducks, but Pintails, Canvas-backs and Whistling Swans have been found 
suffering from lead poisoning. 

It is necessary for ducks to fill the crop at least twice a day, if not oftener. On 



dark nights the feeding is necessarily done by the sense of touch, which is very 
delicate. The nerve-endings in the bill have been studied by Szymonowicz (1897). 
Mallards feed chiefly by puddling in the mud or shallow water, and also by skim- 
ming animal matter off the surface. The young are very adroit in catching insects as 
they pass. Audubon, at an early date, called attention to the practice of the old 
birds of enticing worms from their holes by patting on the ground with their feet. 
Another trick to move aquatic worms is pictured and described by Millais (1902). 
The birds are shown standing upright and “treading water” rapidly with their feet, 
so as to cause a disturbance in the mud and thus bring up the animals. I have seen 
Black Ducks working up food in just the same way and then “tipping” for it. 

Courtship and Nesting. The sexual life of Mallards as well as of many other 
species begins as soon as the breeding plumage is complete in the autumn, but birds 
of the year are less active than the older birds. Instances of Mallards displaying 
while yet in eclipse or even immature plumage have been mentioned (Wormald, 
1914). During October and November the male sex-organs begin to increase in size, 
but they do not actually function until December (Seligmann and Shattuck, Proc. 
Zool. Soc. London, 1914, p. 23). The birds do not begin to separate into pairs until 
December. This association becomes more common in late January and February, 
depending more or less on latitude and weather conditions. Pairing is a gradual 
process and is preceded by many social games (display), but by March almost all 
individuals are in couples, though the young probably do not mate until long after 
the old ones. These habits must always be taken into consideration in forming 
protective laws, for it goes without saying that ducks should be left in peace as soon 
as they are permanently paired. 

It is not at all probable that a pair stays together for more than one season, that is, 
from January to May, nor is it likely that attachments formed very early in the 
season are permanent ones; but in the wild state the Mallard is, roughly speaking, 
monogamous, though these habits are easily upset in confinement. Even in the 
natural state the males are far from being model husbands, and particularly during 
the nesting season they will often pursue strange females. None of the true ducks is 
as strictly paired as are Sheldrakes, Tree Ducks, geese or swans. Nevertheless, 
during the mating season the males appear to be more attached to the females than 
vice versa. If the duck is shot down the drake is more likely to return than would 
the duck in a similar situation. 

I think the word courtship should be used as Sir Ray Lankester has suggested, to 
include the whole sequence of events in the pairing of the sexes, as seen in all classes 
of animals. It may include the search for, the seizure of, or the carrying off of the 
female by the male, and the fascination of the female by various types of “display ” 
which are often extraordinarily complex, and include song, odor, and strange 



antics. Then we must also include fighting between males as another activity of 
courtship. The word display will therefore be used in a restricted sense in describ- 
ing those social plays which result finally in the choice of a mate ; and where display 
is well developed it is probable that the female does actually select her own mate. 
But display in birds must not be confused with similar but intentional activities in 
man, for it is exercised in an unconscious manner and without real understanding. 
The word courtship has an anthropomorphic sound, and seems to imply a conscious 
and previously planned series of events, but it should not be considered in this sense 
when applied to behavior in animals. It would perhaps be better to invent an 
entirely new word to cover the long series of events which result from the “ mating 
hunger” of animals in general. 

The display of the Mallard, which is very characteristic, was first described by 
Naumann. Later writers such as Millais (1902), Heinroth (1911), Wormald (1914), 
Brock (1914), and C. W. Townsend (1916) have analyzed this phenomenon in detail. 
As has been indicated above, the display is seen at its best in the early spring, but it 
has no direct connection with the mating act, and may be seen at almost any time of 
the year when the birds are in a playful mood. According to Brock it is not seen in 
truly paired birds. As analyzed by Wormald the various positions of the male during 
display are as follows: (1) the drake floats idly on the water or swims restlessly to 
and fro in a constrained attitude, with the neck retracted, so that the head is sunk 
closely between the shoulders; (2) he raises himself abruptly in the water, at the 
same time lowering his bill to the surface and then passing it rapidly up the breast 
accompanying this action by a note, part whistle, part groan; (3) the fore part of 
the body is depressed in the water, while the tail is raised, and the bill simultaneously 
opened to the utterance of a series of short notes; (4) a simultaneous upward throw 
of head and tail, usually immediately followed by the performer (5) swimming 
rapidly to and fro in various directions, with the head and neck outstretched 
horizontally just above the surface of the water; (6) (added by Brock) the fore part 
of the body is raised rather slowly out of the water, and the head and neck are ex- 
tended upward at an abrupt angle. A characteristic head-shake frequently precedes 
this action. (See Plate 20.) 

The order above indicated is by no means always followed. In fact Brock con- 
siders 1, 6, 3, 4, 5, the more usual sequence. The display in the female is far less 
developed, but she often performs as in (5) and in doing so stimulates the male to 
respond by actions 2, 3, 4 and 5, particularly the last two. Such display is at first of 
a general nature, and may not have any reference to individuals of the opposite sex; 
in other words, as Brock says, they are merely the outward expression of certain 
forms of nervous stimuli. Nevertheless the attraction or stimulus which a female 
exerts is in direct relation to her exhibition of display primitive as it appears, and is 
inverse to her passivity of behavior. 



Although pairing is usually initiated by the drake, the females end by actually 
singling out and pursuing certain drakes, so that during pairing the male is at first 
active and later plays a more passive role. The drake thus singled out usually retires 
from the female in a very ungallant fashion, perhaps in order to separate from the 
fiock, and at first pays no attention to her. Other drakes follow but are frequently 
driven away by the female, though serious fights never occur. Attachment of the 
pairs, though at first weak, becomes later on strong and permanent. Brock concludes, 
and I think rightly, that there is no selection on the part of the drake, but a definite 
choice, which may even amount to a strong factor in natural selection, is practiced 
by the female. The influences governing the choice of the female appear to take the 
form of certain stimuli provided by the display of the male, the external attributes 
of the male, or the cumulative effect of both. The whole subject of the relationship 
between display and choice of mates well deserves further study. 

The mating act always takes place on the water, and is followed immediately by 
a postlude in which the male swims hurriedly in a semicircle around the female, 
as in position nmnber five, with neck stretched low over the water. A moment later 
both birds go through rapid bathing actions, in order to shake the water from their 
feathers. The remarkable nuptial flight, common also to other species, is seen when 
the breeding grounds are reached. The male of one couple flies after the female of 
another couple, which has probably encroached upon the former’s nesting ground. 
A mad pursuit begins, both the female’s mate and the strange male going through 
various evolutions at a great height. Finally the strange male becomes wearied, or 
at any rate breaks away and returns to his own mate. The significance of these 
flights is not known. Wetmore (1920) evidently considers them part of the dis- 
play, while Heinroth (1911) who has described them from semi-wild birds, offers no 
explanation at all. In my opinion these flights are not to be regarded as part of the 
display, but are rather to be connected with the competition between mated pairs 
on the actual breeding grounds. Nowhere else, so far as I know, are they seen. But 
it may also be argued that these flights result from imfaithful males, whose mates 
are incubating and whose sexual instincts are not yet satisfied. Francis Harper who 
spent the summer of 1920 in the Athabasca Lake region, and who paid particular 
attention to ducks, tells me that he saw pursuit flights, mostly around the middle 
of May, and the last one on June 15. The number of males taking part in these 
flights varied from two to six. 

The nesting period is moderately early, and varies from March to July, accord- 
ing to the latitude and elevation. In temperate regions the Mallard begins to lay 
about the middle of April, though late clutches are found in June. In California the 
height of the breeding season is reached in late April (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 
1918). The earliest record for eggs is for March 25. In England the nesting season 
is very early, from the end of March to the middle of April. In Greenland eggs have 



been found from May 26 to July 18, and in Iceland not before the middle of May, 
There are many records of young broods seen as late as August and September but 
these are no doubt due to the destruction of an earlier clutch or brood. It is interest- 
ing to speculate on how the female secures a mate for these late broods, for the sex 
organs of males are supposed to stop functioning by late May, and she can hardly be 
expected to find her first mate after the young are hatched. 

The Mallard usually nests on the ground near the water, but in many cases nests 
have been placed far from the water. In Europe so many nests have been found in 
elevated locations such as in trees or on rocks that it can scarcely be regarded as a 
rare occurrence, but I know of only four authentic instances of such nests having 
been discovered in America. Nelson (1887) found one in the top of a hollow stump 
six feet above the ground, in Alaska, and in Oregon one was found in a crow’s nest 
in a willow eight feet high (Walker, 1914). Another was on the trunk of an ash tree 
in the W’illamette Valley (Murie, 1913) and a fourth in a willow tree in Saskatche- 
wan, Canada (Report Chief Game Guardian, Prov. Saskatchewan, 1920, p. 15). 
There appears to be no authentic record of any tree-nesting in India (Baker, 1908). 
It is possible to mention only a few of the unusual sites that fill the pages of orni- 
thological literature. Millais (1902) reports one taken on the summit of one of the 
highest mountains of Perth. Elsewhere in Scotland nests have been found high and 
dry in the hilly regions of that country. Others have been found in deep forests. In 
the State of Washington they are said to be frequently placed at the base of a giant 
tree, like the nest of the Sooty Grouse (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909). When nest- 
ing in trees the deserted homes of other species are usually utilized. Ordinarily these 
nests are at no great distance from the ground, but Yarrell (1856) speaks of one in an 
oak tree twenty-five feet high, and W. Thompson (1851) mentions one in a silver fir 
eighty or ninety feet above the ground. In Bavaria one nested in the deserted nest 
of a Peregrine Falcon eighteen meters from the ground. The tree nests of crows, 
magpies, storks, and the ground nests of coots have been frequently mentioned. 
Pollard willows are selected more commonly than other trees. More unusual still are 
such sites as those on old towers, castles and walls (Ussher and Warren, 1900) and 
even the thatched roofs of deserted cottages (Taczanowski, 1893). Squirrel cotes 
have been used in Bohemia (Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen, 1890, p, 248). In Hungary, 
Mallards are said to nest in the burrows formed by the upturning of the turf during 
irrigation work (Homeyer, Naumann, 1896-1905). Wiistnei (1900) and others 
have called attention to nests that have been found in the immediate vicinity of 
inhabited fox-burrows. 

Mention has already been made of the faet that Mallards will breed at high al- 
titudes. In Turkestan they were found nesting at altitudes of from 6000 to 8000 
feet (Lansdell, 1885), 9000 feet in Colorado (Rockwell, 1908), 6225 feet in California 
(Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918), nearly 6000 feet in Switzerland (Fatio, 1904), 



6000 feet in the Caucasus (Radde, 1884), and 9000 feet in the western Himalayas 
(Hume and Marshall, 1879). Of course only isolated pairs are met with at the most 
extreme elevations. 

There is nothing characteristic about the nest of the Mallard. It is loosely con- 
structed of grass, reeds and rushes, with a considerable depression, which, toward 
the end of the laying period, becomes thickly lined with down. Some nests, close to 
the water, are said to have little or no down. The male assists his mate in the nest- 
hunt, but when incubation commences he becomes more and more independent, 
until toward the middle of the period he deserts the female entirely. It seems that 
very rarely, the male will stay with the female until after the young are hatehed. 
Such is said to be the case occasionally in Iceland (Hantzsch, 1905), and Wetmore 
(1921) has noted it in rare cases at Bear River, Utah. 

The eggs are from five to fourteen in a clutch, averaging about ten. Clutches of 
from fourteen to eighteen have been commonly reported, probably the work of two 
birds. Young birds are said to lay smaller clutches than the older ones. The color of 
the eggs is very variable. Although the typical egg is pale greenish blue, many are 
yellowish cream or almost white. They measure from 52.3 to 64.7 mm. by 38.0 to 
45.7 mm. The usual period of incubation is twenty-six days, but so many authori- 
ties have given longer periods that one must conclude that the variation is greater 
than is generally thought. Much of the supposed variation is due, no doubt, to 
freshness or staleness of eggs; perfectly fresh ones always hatch sooner. Eggs placed 
under a hen will hatch, according to some writers, about two days sooner than when 
incubated by the parent; but I have no data to confirm or disprove this. 

The female sits very closely, especially when the eggs are far advanced. During 
the last few days she will not move unless almost stepped on, and she may often be 
removed by hand. Not only is the nest usually well concealed from above, but the 
sitting bird draws leaves and grasses around and over her, so there is little except 
her eyes to attract attention. She leaves the nest once or twice a day (never at 
night) and when the eggs are well incubated probably not more than once a day. 
When leaving voluntarily, she covers the eggs with down, but no harm seems to 
result, even when the nest is left uncovered for a considerable period, since the down 
serves rather for concealment than warmth. During the last few days of incubation 
she probably does not leave the nest at all. 

There is some diversity of opinion as to the relation between the sexes during 
incubation. At times the females on coming from the nest seem to be persecuted 
not only by their own mates, but by other males. Some writers have even said that 
the female is compelled to conceal her nest from her mate lest he disturb her by his 
attentions. As usually observed, however, the male remains at no great distance 
from the nest, and joins the female during her brief feeding period (Wetmore, 1920; 
et ah). When Mallards are artificially crowded on small breeding ponds the males 



become exceedingly troublesome. An extreme case of this kind was studied by 
Huxley (1912). His observations were made at Tring Reservoir, in England, where 
twelve hundred pairs were breeding. Each year about seventy females were killed 
by drowning, — in other words about 6% of the total number were destroyed by 
the males. Conditions similar, but not so serious, have been commonly cited. The 
fact is that the sexual instinct in the male continues up to and beyond the period 
when the duck is sitting, and if pairs are closely crowded a certain amount of trouble 
is bound to result. The sex organs of the male begin to atrophy at the end of May. 

After the young are hatched they stay in the nest about a day, and then are taken 
directly to the water. In cases where the nest is at some elevation the female nearly 
always coaxes the young to jump down. The bird when in down weighs only 6.5 
grams (Collett, 1893-94) and can fall even on hard pavement without sustaining 
injury. In certain instances reliable observers (Hartert, 1887) and numerous less 
responsible observers, have seen the mother transporting the young in her bill or 
even in her feet. At best such cases are very unusual. The question has been entered 
into with some detail by Naumann (1896-1905). It seems also that the female is 
able to carry eggs by tucking them up between her chin and breast. Four eggs were 
seen to be removed in as many seconds and to a distance of eighteen inches in this 
manner. This incident has been recorded by a photograph (E. L. Turner, 1910). 

The care of the young and the marvellous ruses of the female in distracting at- 
tention from her brood are common to all ducks, and are familiar to any one who has 
visited their breeding grounds. It is not so well known that the mother will put to 
death with a stroke of her bill a duckling that is sick or injured (W. Thompson, 
1851; Millais, 1902). Naumann (1896-1905) speaks of a semi-wild male who shook 
to death and ate six of his offspring, but in the wild state such cannibalistic ten- 
dencies are probably never developed. For the first few weeks the young are very 
delicate and must be protected from cold, storms, and hail. Millais (1902) has well 
depicted the means adopted by the mother to protect the brood against a sudden 
cold shower: she stands with baek to the wind and with wings outstretched over the 
young. The broods for the most part remain separate, and females are rather 
jealous of each other. This is quite different from the behavior of Eiders, Sheldrakes, 
and especially Mergansers, where one female may have a whole raft of young follow- 
ing her about. 

The young are capable of flight at the age of about eight weeks. At this time the 
female goes through her moult, but does not as a rule become flightless. The young 
stay together in family groups and probably migrate separately from the old birds, 
but this is not certain. It does not seem to be known how long the female stays with 
her brood, or, if she leaves them, whether she rejoins them after completing her 
moult, and eventually migrates with them. I think it is probable that she merely 
retires for a short time during moult and later finds her brood again. In some cases 



she does not leave the young at all. The drakes have long before separated from 
their mates, gathered into small groups and retired to dense reed-beds to moult, 
becoming exceedingly shy, and keeping themselves completely concealed. The 
quills are shed with extreme rapidity, sometimes all dropping out in one day 
(Millais, 1902), so that the males are incapable of flight for a considerable period, 
depending upon the number of quills shed at one time. The eclipse plumage is 
complete by late June or July, and lasts the rest of the summer, but there is no time 
during this period when some change in the plumage is not taking place. 

Status. The Mallard has greatly increased in numbers in the British Isles since 
the passage of the Wild Birds Protection Act in 1880. Before that time the birds 
were shot indiscriminately, even the young being killed before they were on the wing. 
The increase is said to be most noticeable in the low-lying districts of the eastern 
counties, south of the Humber (Cordeaux, 1896; Kelso, 1913). An idea of the enor- 
mous numbers of Mallards and other ducks killed during the eighteenth century 
may be obtained by consulting Payne-Gallwey (1886). Pennant (1776) speaks of 
over 31,000 ducks taken in one season in ten decoys near Wainfleet, Lincolnshire. 
Early in the nineteenth century most of the fens had been drained and the numerous 
decoys were rapidly discontinued. Yarrell (1856) and other writers bewail the great 
reduction, particularly in breeding birds, before their time. On the Continent there 
appears to have been a decrease by the beginning of the nineteenth century. Nau- 
mann in 1842 attributed this to the drainage of swamps and the growth of large 
cities. It is now thought that the mowing of reeds has an injurious effect, by de- 
priving the birds of suitable nesting places and of shelter during moult. According 
to Fritsch (1872) there were only 6346 Mallards killed in all Bohemia in 1857. Nau- 
mann (1896-1905) points out that the species must have been much more common 
there at an earlier period, for Palliardi tells us that in 1507 no less than 3020 were 
shot on one pond. Even in 1900 as many as 3521 were shot on the estates of Prince 
Schwarzenberg alone. Von Buda writing in 1906 says that fifty years before, the 
species was very common in southeastern Hungary, while in his time it had become 
scarce. All over Europe the local breeding birds have greatly decreased in number, 
but the migrants seem to be holding their own much more successfully. Griscom 
(1921) estimated about 100,000 at the Camargue delta of the Rhone in December, 
1918. An interesting series of figures as to the ducks taken in the decoys of the 
Friesian Isles is given by Naumann (1896-1905) and they point to the same condi- 

No marked decrease has, so far as I know, been reported from India or China, but 
the species must be diminishing in both of these localities, for the natives are more 
and more commonly supplied with shot-guns. Mallards have been shipped from the 
lower Yangtse to the markets of Europe (Ghidini, 1911). 



Dr. M. P. Porsild of the Danish Arctic Station at Disko, Greenland, writes me 
that Mallards are rather scarce in that region and during sixteen years he has only 
known of one nest. Very few are sold there as game for the table. 

In North America, Mallards were steadily decreasing in number until the passage 
of the Federal Migratory Bird Law in 1913. Since that time a marked increase in 
Mallards, Pintails and Teals has been noticed, particularly in the Mississippi Valley 
and the West. Mallards are now breeding much more commonly than formerly over 
the northern and central States where the local stock was sadly reduced. Perhaps the 
greatest danger of the future is in the increasing demand for agricultural land, which 
is resulting in the drainage of many splendid breeding grounds. It is very unfortunate 
that many of the areas now being drained are not fitted for agriculture but are the 
outcome of speculation and promotion schemes. It is necessary, therefore, that large 
tracts should be permanently set aside, both by the individual States and by the 
Federal Government, to serve for all time as breeding reservoirs for our wild-fowl. 
We must not forget that abundance depends upon the area of proper feeding and 
resting grounds far more than upon the number of guns. Ducks do not necessarily 
decrease with an increase of shooters for they are creatures of extraordinary adapta- 
bility. But just as soon as a country begins to lose its natural wild-fowl reservoirs, 
the birds grow less in spite of all sorts of restrictive measures. 

In New England it is doubtful if much change has taken place in the status of 
the Mallard for, excepting sporadically, it has always been rare. The last consider- 
able flight was in 1904, when about one hundred appeared in the markets of Boston 
during one week in October (Forbush, 1912). That same year numbers were seen in 
Merrymeeting Bay, Maine (F. T. Noble, 1905), and the records of clubs at Curri- 
tuck Sound, North Carolina, for the year 1904 also show exceptional abundance. 
It is never regular in its appearance east of the Connecticut Valley. At Long Point, 
Lake Erie, in the late ’80’s, from one-third to one-half as many Mallards as Black 
Ducks were shot. In recent years this proportion has changed materially, ranging 
from as low as 4% to as high as 15 or 20 %. This would seem to indicate that the Mal- 
lard is or was decreasing faster than the Black Duck. Such results are not surprising, 
because the breeding grounds of the Mallard have suffered more than those of the 
Black Duck. W. L. Dawson (1903) considered the species much diminished in Ohio 
during the preceding fifty years. I have already pointed out (Phillips, 1912) the 
probability that Mallards were holding their own less successfully than the Black 
Ducks at Currituck Sound, North Carolina. An idea of the enormous numbers that 
were formerly destroyed may easily be obtained by consulting notes in sportsmen’s 
periodicals, and the reports of the State game commissioners. Out of 150,000 ducks 
shot in Arkansas in the season of 1893-94 no less than four-fifths were Mallards 
(Howell, 1911). In the winter of 1913-14, 117,843 Mallards were received in the 
markets of New Orleans, including those taken by amateur hunters. Forbush 



(1912) heard that five thousand Mallards and Black Ducks were brought into the 
market of Georgetown, South Carolina, in a single day. The markets of San Fran- 
cisco received 47,565 Mallards during the winter of 1895-96 (Grinnell, Bryant and 
Storer, 1918). In California the Mallard is said by these writers to have been re- 
duced in numbers, but not as much as the Red-head or the Carolina Duck. Irriga- 
tion has very much altered the breeding areas in that State, but fortunately, the 
effect is not proving as disastrous as was at first feared, although it has greatly 
changed the face of the country. According to the report of the Minnesota State 
Game Commissioner nearly half a million Mallards were shot in that State in 1919 
and 387,000 in 1920 but I feel certain that these figures are too high. 

A condition knowm as the “duck sickness” appeared in our own West some 
twenty years ago. In the Great Salt Lake region it began to be serious in 1910 and 
caused the death of hundreds of thousands of ducks in the following five years, so 
that a great decrease was noticed. This sickness has been definitely proved to be 
caused by the toxic action of certain salts found in alkali, the result of irrigation 
systems (Wetmore, 1918). 

The recovery by shooting of banded Mallards is a valuable record of the toll which 
man takes. In England there were 22% of recoveries (Witherby, 1922a) and in the 
United States the proportion is not very different. Of course not all these were 
taken the same year they were marked, but by far the largest proportion were. 

Enemies. Very few studies of the enemies of the Mallard have been made in 
America since the time of Audubon. That great authority mentions turtles and fish 
as being destructive to the young, and White-headed Eagles, Snowy and Virginia 
Owls, racoons, lynxes and snapping turtles as enemies of the mature birds. He was 
perhaps in error in ascribing much destruction to the White-headed Eagle, for that 
bird is chiefly a carrion feeder and turns his attention mostly to cripples, yet I am 
told that on the North Pacific coast he is very destructive to diving ducks and takes 
some Mallards, Pintails and Widgeons. The Duck Hawk {Falco peregrinus) is de- 
structive to ducks, and the Prairie Falcon {Falco mexicanus) has been mentioned as 
an enemy (Cameron, 1907). Crows, however, are much more serious than all these 
put together as they are persistent egg robbers and are increasing in many regions. 
Doubtless mink, weasels, wild-cats and prairie wolves account for some destruction, 
but the extent of this has never been estimated. The bull snake of the western States 
is fond of birds’ eggs and is known to swallow ducks’ eggs. 

Many English writers speak of the damage done to the young and half-grown 
Mallards by large pike. Payne-Gallwey (1882) mentions a pond where the old birds 
would not lead their young to the water until they were half-grown, because of the 
danger from these fish. Gulls {Larus fuscus) are described as very destructive to 
young Vlallards in northwestern Scotland (Harvie-Brown and MacPherson, 1904). 



Millais (1902) has called attention to the fact that the agents most dangerous to 
the eggs and young are the Carrion and the Hooded Crows, who cause greater havoc 
than all other vermin put together. This I believe is absolutely true. He says he 
has also found whole families massacred by stoats (or other vermin). Naumann 
(1896-1905) who has gone into this question in some detail, gives a long list of 
predatory mammals, fish and birds that are known enemies of the Mallard in west- 
ern Europe. This list includes various species of hawks {Circus ceruginosus, C. pygar- 
gus, C. cyaneus), falcons, crows, ravens, magpies and eagles, foxes, martens, pole- 
cats, weasels, otters, rats, pike and possibly even frogs. 

The Mallard is also subject to the attacks of various parasites. Cysts of Psoros- 
perviia have been found, chiefly in the muscles of the breast (Hagen, 1880) and 
Corbin (1873) tells of a three-fourths grown Mallard found in a dying state with a 
leech in its mouth. Various feather mites and intestinal worms of nineteen different 
species are given by Naumann (1896-1905) as parasites afflicting the Mallard. 

Damage. In our own West migratory Mallards do not appear in large numbers 
until the crops are harvested, and local birds are scarcely numerous enough to do 
much damage. In parts of our Southwest, however, certain grain farmers have 
received permission from the U.S. Biological Survey to shoot ducks that are damag- 
ing their crops. The rice farmers of Arkansas and the Sacramento Valley in Cali- 
fornia have suffered most. It was estimated that in the autumn of 1917, when the 
rice harvest was delayed, about $35,000 worth of grain was destroyed near De Witt 
and Stuttgart, Arkansas (McAtee, 1918). In the Imperial Valley (southern Califor- 
nia) after the water is turned on to the fields in midwinter to sprout the seed-grain, 
vast numbers of Mallards and other ducks appear, presumably from farther west, 
and are said to do some damage. 

In Ireland they have been reported as being very destruetive to ripening corn 
(Ussher and Warren, 1900). Naumann (1896-1905) speaks of similar habits in 
Germany. They have been reported as also feeding on sprouting grain, but the 
damage is probably never serious. 

Food Value. The flesh of the Mallard is generally as excellent as that of any 
other species, but it is never on a par with that of the Red-head, Canvas-back or 
American Widgeon when those superlative fowl are shot under the most favorable 
conditions. Naturally the quality of the Mallard’s flesh varies greatly, depending 
upon the amount of fat which has been accumulated, partlj' on the age of the bird, 
and partly on the proportion and kind of vegetable matter consumed. In the spring 
and summer the birds are far less palatable than in autumn, when, after they have 
assumed their full plumage, they begin to gain condition, and lay on a reserve of 
fatty tissue. When feeding on wild rice or grain left on the stubble fields they become 



exceedingly heavy ; drakes weighing three and a quarter pounds may be regarded as 
exceptionally fine although three and a half pounds has been recorded. To many 
palates the Mallard, after it has been driven to the sea-coast and forced to feed on 
marine mollusks, acquires a rank and all too gamey taste; but some people prefer 
the sea-flavor of these birds to the flesh of the inland grain-field ducks. The Mallard 
does not necessarily become thin on a winter, animal diet off the coast. In Greenland 
it is said to become “almost as rank as a loon” (Kumlien, 1879), perhaps because 
of the scarcity of vegetable food. Occasional depraved habits of feeding on dead 
animal and vegetable matter have already been mentioned, and during such unusual 
conditions the flesh becomes unfit for food. 

It is related of the meat of ducks, that Cato, the elder, used to feed his patients 
on it. Later, however, the Latin doctors Galen, dEtius, Paulus of ^Egina and others, 
warned against the flesh as being very hard to digest (Keller, 1913). 

Domestication. So far as known, the Mallard was not domesticated in ancient 
Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, or among the Jews. In the time of the Pharaohs it was 
not yet tamed ; and it does not seem to have been an article of game or food until the 
Twelfth Dynasty (2000 b.c.). There was no true domestication in ancient Greece 
either, though in Aristophanes’ time a few were already kept, probably for religious 
or medicinal purposes. In Greek mythology the bird was connected with the cult 
of Aphrodite and consequently with that of Eros and Priapus. The first real at- 
tempt at domestication is seen in the elaborate nessotrophia (enclosed and covered 
duck-ponds) among the Romans of the time of Columella and Varro. In these en- 
closures the birds were fattened for the table, provision being also made for their 
nesting. Of the widespread utilization of the duck in ancient art, and of the prev- 
alence of duck-figures as favorite bits of feminine ornament I cannot here speak. 
The subject is discussed in considerable detail by Keller (1913). 

While there are traces of the domestication of the goose even in pre-Homeric 
times, there is absolutely no evidence that the duck was domesticated among the 
Romans before the beginning of the Christian era. Even then the exact date is 
shrouded in uncertainty. I am not sure that any one distinguished the wild and the 
tame Mallards before St. Hildegard referred to them as aneta silvestris and aneta 
domestica respectively (twelfth century a. d.). The actual process of domestication 
is a rapid one, and can easily be observed by any one who cares to make the effort. 
After two or three generations the natural wildness of the ducklings and old birds 
disappears. The shape and carriage of the birds become greatly changed; they 
are more erect and waddling in their gait, heavier and coarser in appearance, and 
lose almost all inclination to fly. The inbreeding which usually accompanies domes- 
tication is very apt to affect the plumage, and fix variations that crop up, espe- 
cially white primary feathers and other patches of albinism. All these changes are 



accompanied by a derangement of the sexual life which results in polygamy and 
greatly increased capacity for laying eggs. Wild specimens when brought into con- 
finement will usually not lay the first year, but in the second year they nest freely 
and there is no difficulty whatever in rearing large numbers of young. These young, 
if raised under hens and hand-reared, become very tame, but if hatched by mothers 
and left to themselves they remain almost as wild as the parents, taking long flights 
to and from other waters as soon as their wdngs are grown. 

The various breeds of domestic ducks, all of which, excepting the Muscovy, have 
been derived from the Mallard, may be briefly enumerated. Least removed from 
the original parent are the Call Ducks, which have been bred very small and are 
spoken of as Toy Mallards. Some of these dw'arfs are only a little larger than a Teal; 
they have very short stubby bills, short rounded heads and high shrill voices. I 
have found such extreme specimens very hard to breed, as the females often prove 
sterile or become egg-bound. Call Ducks are both pure “white” and “gray,” the 
latter retaining the exact plumage of the wild Mallard, though not quite so brilliant 
or glossy. Some people suppose that Call Ducks originated in Normandy; really 
small specimens are now scarce everywhere. 

The Black East India is not much kept nowadays. It is a small black breed 
with brilliant green and purple luster. In reality it is a melanistic variety of the 
Mallard. Its flesh is pigmented, and it lays an egg with a dark -colored shell. The 
plumage of the drake is much more iridescent than that of the duck, but old speci- 
mens of either sex usually show white feathers, and perfect specimens are rare. 

The Cayuga is nothing more than a large East India Duck; the flesh is dark and 
the males weigh as high as six or seven pounds. It lays a nearly black egg. This 
breed seems to have originated in New York State, and is not common at the present 

The Rouen is a giant Mallard retaining the colors of the w ild bird and weighing 
as much as nine to twelve pounds. It is a good table bird but slower to mature than 
some other large breeds. It probably originated somewhere in France. 

The Pekin Duck came from China, and w^as apparently not known in Europe or 
America before 1873. It is one of the most useful varieties. These ducks are pure 
white, and w'eigh from eight to nine pounds. 

The Aylesbury Duck, named after a town in the County of Bucks, England, is 
also a w hite breed, but has a deeper keel than the Pekin. It is one of the more valu- 
able of the domestic breeds, being remarkable for rapid growth and early maturity. 

The Penguin Duck is a native of Java. It is a remarkable breed, having a slender 
body, small wings and upright carriage. The bones of the leg are said to be longer and 
there is often a top-knot on the head. The plumage is gray to white. 

The Indian Runner is nearly allied to the last variety, brought from India and 
introduced into the County of Cumberland, England, in 1850. They are very long 



slender birds, with an unusually erect carriage, almost like an auk or a penguin, 
and with an extraordinary color pattern, very unlike the Mallard’s. They do, 
however, retain the curly tail-feathers, and breed freely with common Mallards. 
This breed was taken up by fanciers in 1890. They are said to lay more eggs than 
any other domestic duck, but this is not universally true, for I have kept many 
which proved poor layers. They are exhibited in two types: fawn and gray, the 
former being the original color. Apparently this variety is identical with the Pen- 
guin Duck described by Darwin as coming from the Malay Archipelago. 

The Hook-billed Duck is an old breed mentioned by Willughby and Ray (1676) 
and apparently not now in existence. It was usually white, but sometimes like the 
wild Mallard in plumage. It was remarkable for the downward curvature of the bill. 
I have seen it portrayed in Dutch paintings of the middle seventeenth century. 

The Buff Orpington is a recent introduction, the result of crossing Indian Runners 
and Rouens. The Blue Orpington is an offshoot of the Buff Orpington. 

Blue Swedish Ducks are now quite commonly seen in the United States, and this 
is evidently a recent breed. 

A Belgian variety called Huttegem is mentioned in poultry books, and there is 
a new English breed called the Campbell Duck. 

Various breeds of crested ducks are also occasionally kept, are mentioned by 
Darwin and other writers, and are sometimes seen in poultry shows. They must have 
been common in Europe, judging from their frequent appearance in Dutch pictures. 

Attempts have been made to introduce wild Mallards into the Ealkland Islands, 
but Mr. W. S. Brooks, who was there in 1916, tells me that this has apparently 
failed. According to Buller it has been introduced successfully into New Zealand, 
has crossed with the Australian Duck, Anas superciliosa, and may in time supplant 
it. A duck described as Anas salvadorii by Buttikofer (1896) from the Island of 
Sumba is nothing but a semi-domestic Mallard. I have seen the type specimen in 
the Leyden Museum. 

Hybrids. Wild hybrids with the Black Duck are so common in America as to be 
hardly worthy of note, but it is quite certain that many of these are the product of 
wild male Black Ducks and half-wild female decoy Mallards. The next most com- 
mon wild hybrid is the cross between the Mallard and the Pintail, which, however, 
is very much rarer than the last. Even less common are hybrids from matings of the 
Mallard wdth European and American Teal, Gadwall, European and Ameriean 
Widgeon, Shoveller and European Sheldrake. In zoological gardens the Mallard has 
been crossed with almost all the surface-feeding ducks and in most of these the 
hybrids are fertile. Crosses outside the true surface feeders, and by this I mean the 
Mallard-like ducks of the genus Anas including Pintail, Widgeon and Teal, result, so 
far as I know, in sterile products. Hybrids produced under artificial conditions are 



enumerated below; but this list is probably far from complete and is gleaned from 
Poll (1911), Leverkiihn (1890), Salvador! (1895) and Wormald (1914): Anas hoschas 
with Cairina moschata, Alopochen cegyptiacus, Casarca ferruginea. Anas undulata. 
Anas superciliosa, Anas melleri, Anas poecilorhyncha. Anas bahamensis. Anas 
sibilatrix. Anas flavirostris, Anas chlorotis, Anas querquedula, Lampronessa sponsa, 
Aex galericulata{?), Nyroca rufitia, Nyroca ferina, Nyroca collaris, Mergus mergan- 
ser, Metopiana peposaca. 

Still more remarkable was a cross with an Eider Duck described by W, Eagle 
Clarke (1912). This extraordinary bird was said not to dive, but to have the habits 
of a surface feeder. M. Jean Delacour of Cleres, France, has some curious hybrids 
between a male Asarcornis scutulata and a female Mallard. 


The question of possible races in this species is a diflBcult one because there is a rather wide range 
of variation in size. It is also more than likely that with such a common species, collectors wall 
pick out extra fine, or extra large specimens for preservation, particularly in the male sex. A 
very large series of Mallards from China, Palestine, and the United States in the collection of the 
Museum of Comparative Zoology shows no constant differences. The largest wing measurement 
is found in a specimen from the United States, of 296 mm., but Ilartert records one of 302 mm. The 
longest bill (a specimen from Palestine) measures 63 mm. Tarsal length is more constant, and ap- 
parently is always under 50 mm. Hartert (1920) finds that American Mallards are slightly larger 
than European ones. In the series before me, chiefly from eastern China, Palestine, and the United 
States, the following measurements were obtained, which exactly bear out Hartert ’s findings. 


China 262-289 mm. Average 272 Males only 

Palestine 260-286 “ 273 

United States 260-296 “ 280 

It has often been remarked that Mallards from the Scandinavian peninsula are somewhat smaller, 
but this is not apparent. English and continental sportsmen have called attention many times to a 
supposedly smaller race of migrants coming from farther north in the winter. Hartert could not 
prove the existence of either a smaller northern form or a larger southern resident form, so that it is 
probable that no such races are distinguishable. F. W. Smalley (1919) assigns to these northern 
birds a weight of only two pounds and a wdng of 270-273 mm., while F. S. Beveridge (1919) claims 
that these “foreign” Mallards seldom weigh over one pound, fourteen ounces. The explanation is 
probably to be found, as Hartert suggests, in the arrival of northern-bred ducks, which are not so 
large or well nourished as the local ones. Perhaps also these migrants were hatched later, and are 
not so fully matured when they first reach England and France. 

In regard to the existence of a local form inhabiting Iceland, I must say that I am extremely 
skeptical. Iceland Mallards were given a name {Anas boschas subboschas) by Brehm (Oken’s Isis, 
1830, col. 997) but Hartert is doubtful about its validity, and from my own observations of three 
specimens I can see no reason w'hatever for recognizing such a form. 

The Greenland Mallard is in my opinion the only race that is worthy of recognition. 





Anas conboschas Brehm, Oken’s Isis, 1826, col. 983; 1830, col. 997 {nomen nudum)-, Brehm, 
Handbuch Naturgesch. Vogel Deutschlands, 1835, p. 865. 

Anas boscas spilogaster Schidler, Vidensk. Meddel. Naturh. Foren. Kjobenhavn, 1905, p. 127. 
Anas platyrhyncha conboschas Hartert, Vogel Palsearkt. Fauna, vol. 2, pt. 9, p. 1312, 1920. 

Adult Male: Bill variable, often just as in A. boschas boschas but sometimes shorter, and occa- 
sionally narrower. The upper surface of the body in general less brown and more gray in color and 
the upper wing-coverts more brown and less gray. The wavy markings On the flanks are coarser, 
more gray and white; while the reddish brown breast area shows a tendency to end in a point, 
which is often well defined. The tips of the breast feathers are nearly always marked with black 
spots or cross-bands. The rest of the lower side is somewhat grayer and darker. Wing of eleven 
specimens, 280-303 mm. 

Female: Upper side grayer than in A. b. boschas, edges of the feathers and the barring light gray- 
brown instead of reddish brown. Lower side strongly spotted, even in old birds, and similar to the 
young oi A. b. boschas. Only very rarely are the under parts so uniform and washed out as in old 
European specimens. Furthermore they are whiter and not so rusty (Hartert, 1920). 

Range: Greenland, on the west coast north to Upernavik and on the east coast north at least to 


(Plate 21) 


Anas boschas? Hartlaub ()iec Linne), Arch. f. Nalurgesch., vol. 1, p. 137, 1852. 
Anas superciliosa Dole (nee Gmelin), Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., vol. 12, p. 305, 

Anas superciliosa a. sandwichensis Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 
43, p. 649, 1856 {nomen nudum). 

Anas wyvilliana P. L. Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1878, p. 350. 
yl«as a6cr(i Ridgv ay, Proc. LhS. Nat. Mus., vol. 1, p. 250, 1878. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Hawaiian Duck, Sandwich Islands Duck. 

Hawaiian: Koloa Maoli. 


Adult Male: “Top of the head blackish, the feathers tipped with pale brown. A dark metallic green 
stripe from the eyes to the nape. Feathers of the neck blackish, mixed with light brown, those of the 
upper back and interscapular region blackish brown with crescent -shaped and undulated rufous- 
browm bands. Lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts brownish black, with but a few brown 
feather-edges and spots. Inner tertials and greater scapulars browm, greyish in the middle and nar- 
rowly edged with pale browm. Primaries dark greyish brown. The secondaries form a large and fine 
speculum, bordered behind with a subterminal black line, followed by a white terminal line, and in 
front by a black line, with a less defined grey band before it. Above the speculum is bordered with a 
broad velvety-black stripe, formed by the black outer webs of some of the tertials. Rectrices deep 
bro'wn and blackish, with whitish-brown edges and irregular arrow-shaped markings. The two 
central rectrices are black, soft, and curled up as in Anas boschas; in one old male in abraded 
plumage the next [lateral feather on one side] shows an inclination to curl up (the other corre- 
sponding one being absent), and in two other males there is a distinct beginning to curl up. Sides of head 
and neck and throat mottled with blackish brown and pale buffy brown. Throat blackish in the 
oldest male. Breast rufous brown, with U-shaped blackish markings, or more or less rounded spots, 
these standing before the tips of the feathers and being followed by another blackish mark; the upper 
breast and sides more rufous. Abdomen brownish buff, distinctly shaded with greyish in the 
oldest specimens, and varied with greyish-brown spots, in the most matured specimen distinctly, 
though faintly, cross-barred with ashy brown. Sides of body pale rufous browm, with longitudinal 
or V-shaped deep brown markings, but in the oldest male some white feathers finely undulated with 
blackish brown appear on the flanks. Under tail-coverts blackish and brownish, varying much and 
strongly tinged with rufous in older specimens. Under wing-coverts and axillaries white.” 

Wing 236-249 mm.; tail 89; culmen 48; tarsus 40.5 (Rothschild, 1900). 

Adult Female: “Blackish brown above with a slight gloss on the head, all the feathers broadly 


Plate 21 






margined with brownish buff and mostly with one or two zigzag bars across. Primaries dark greyish 
brown. The secondaries form a fine speculum of deep metallic purplish blue, which in some speci- 
mens and under certain lights passes into green. This speculum is bordered in front with a velvety- 
black terminal band, preceded by a whitish-grey band, which occasionally is absent or indistinct in a 
few specimens, and this speculum is bordered behind by a velvety -black band, followed by a white 
one. Towards the back the speculum is also terminated by a velvety-black line. White tips are in a 
few specimens indicated or even distinctly developed on the coverts forming a black border in front 
of the speculum. Rectrices blackish brown, bordered and barred with irregular lines of brownish 
buff. Under parts buffy brown, darker on the breast, spotted with blackish brown, and more so 
along the sides of the body and on the breast. Chin mostly quite unspotted and more reddish. 
Under wing-coverts white, sometimes those near the margin dark brown with pale borders, a vari- 
ability which, like some others, I cannot account for. Axillaries white, in two specimens, one 
from Oahu and one from Hawaii, wdth a few dark brown spots. A very young bird from 
Kauai, marked female, has the under wing-coverts almost unspotted white, the rectrices with a 
few pale bars only on the outer ones, besides being bordered all round with pale brown. 

“The females vary very much. Some few have a distinctly indicated pale superciliary line; some 
have the spots on the lower parts much less bold than others, and I take them to be younger indi- 
viduals, as the already-mentioned very young bird (with the wing-feathers only half grown) has 
them also less bold. Some variations in the gloss of the speculum, the borders of the latter, and the 
colour of the under w^ing-coverts are mentioned above ” (Rothschild, 1900). 

Wing 216-228.6 mm.; tail 76-83.5; culmen 41-45.5; tarsus 38. 

Young in Dow^n: Almost exactly like the young in down of the Mallard, but the olive tint is ap- 
parently more variable and generally less intense (Rothschild, 1900). The specimens which I saw at 
Tring looked to me exactly like young Mallards but of course they were slightly smaller. 


The present species is confined to the Haw’aiian group, and is or rather w'as found on all the islands 
(Dole, 1879; P. L. Sclater, 1880; S. B. Wilson and Evans, 1890-99; Henshaw, 1902; R. C. L. Perkins, 
1903; Bryan, 1915). It used to be common but is now diminishing w'herever the Hawaiian 
mongoose has been introduced (Henshaw, 1902; R. C. L. Perkins, 1903; Bryan, 1915). Islands 
R. C. L. Perkins (1903) states that it is still common on Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and Hawaii, 
but that he did not meet with it on Lanai. It frequents the ponds on the coast, but is most abundant 
on the mountain streams, being found at altitudes up to 8000 feet. According to Bryan (1915) it 
had become in 1915, very rare everywhere excepting on Kauai, and in grave danger of extinction. 
He says that in the open season the Shoveller or the Pintail are more likely to be met 

One specimen, described by Ridgway as Anas aberti, was taken at Mazatlan, Mexico. 

Dlscussion: The Haw^aiian Duck is very interesting, because it shows direct Mallard affinities, and 
is the only other species except the Laysan Teal {Anas laysanensis) and the recently described New 
Mexican Duck that normally carries the Mallard sex-feathers in the tail. Its individual variation is 
all the more curious, when found in a group as stable as the Anatidae. 

Anas U'yvilliana was first described by P. L. Sclater (1878) but there was nothing to show to which 
sex the specimens belonged, except the mark of the collector, w’ho recorded them as males. In the 
Voyage of the Challengee (Birds, Plate 22) P. L. Sclater (1880a) figures one of these males, which is 
apparently in juvenile plumage or perhaps in summer moult. 

In 1888, Stejneger (1888) called attention to the defects in the original description and in the plate. 



and then dealt at some length with the various differences found among the five specimens then at 
hand in the U.S. National Museum. Other remarks were made about this species by Salvador! 
(1895) who also considered this bird more or less of an ornithological puzzle. Rothschild (1900, 
p. 271) in the Avifauna of Laysan, gives two plates of Anas uyvilUana and discusses his large series 
of specimens. 

In the ten specimens now before me the main points of sexual difference are as follows. Of the 
six males, four are correctly sexed, one is not sexed, and one has been sexed both as a male and a 
female and then had both marks crossed out. There is, however, no question about the sex of either 
of these two. All six males present the characteristic V-shaped markings on the breast, thickly 
streaked throat and cheeks, nearly black pileum, sometimes mixed with iridescent green toward 
the neck, and except in one case evidence of sex-feathers in the tail. In this one case (U.S. National 
Museum, No. 113,448) the middle tail-feathers are lacking, probably moulted out, as the date is 
May. The sex-feathers appear to be typically three in number, but there may be four. They are not 
so well developed as in the Mallard. 

Of the four females all are correctly sexed. They all have the streaked under parts, immaculate 
throats and absence of sex-feathers. 

The table of measurements below shows the size difference in the two sexes. This is small and 
about comparable with that seen in Anas diazi. 








































Type of 

Anas aberii 





48,. 384 

























We must now turn to Dr. Stejneger’s account of the species. He first describes the two males, 
U.S. National Museum No. 113,447 and No. 113,449, and shows several points of difference between 
them, especially in the color of the bill, in the anterior white wing-band and in the under wing- 
coverts and under tail-coverts. No. 113,448 was taken to be a female (absence of sex-feathers noted 
above) although the specimen is without doubt a male, as evidenced by the characteristic breast- 
pattern, large size, and dark chin. The smaller upper wing-coverts are broadly margined with cin- 
namon in this specimen, a character also seen especially well in No. 131,718 and in the type of 
Anas aherti. This certainly looks, as Stejneger himself suggests, like a youthful type of plumage, 
for the males of more advanced plumage show the small wing-coverts plain drab, slightly edged with 

Of the other two specimens described as females. No. 21,319 is a typical male, and this leads to a 
misunderstanding. The only female then which Dr. Stejneger had was No. 113,450. He mentions 



among true individual differences, the curious white ring around the eye in one specimen, the trans- 
position of the white anterior wing-bar, the coloring of the lining of the wing, etc. These will be 
referred to again. 

Salvadori (1895) confesses that he does not understand the species. He thinks that domesticated 
Mallards might have become feral and influenced Anas wyvilliana. This seems to me to be not at all 
probable because of the small size of the species and its uniformity as to measurements. Salvadori 
calls attention to the characters that distinguish the adult males, and shows that young birds 
resemble adult females. 

Rothschild (1900) in two fine plates shows well the Mallard affinities of the species. His series is a 
large one and especially interesting are the few white flank feathers finely undulated with blackish 
brown, which, together with the faint cross-barring on the abdomen occur only in his oldest males. 
My series shows nothing of the sort, and it is therefore probable, as suggested by Rothschild, that 
the final male plumage is not attained for several years. 

Rothschild calls attention to variability, which he considers greater in the female. In some of his 
female specimens white tips were present on the coverts which form the anterior edge of the specu- 
lum. The different appearance of the under wing-coverts in his specimens is a form of variation 
which, along with some others, he says he cannot account for. 

Aside, then, from certain other curious variations, we have in this species male birds with Mallard 
affinities readily distinguished from the females, a juvenile plumage like the female’s, — very like a 
partial eclipse plumage, — and almost certainly some changes due to age. To me the most noticeable 
variation, and one that is certainly not complicated by any question of age, is the color of the specu- 
lum-bars. In the males the first band anterior to the speculum is always black, but next to this there 
is a wide range of color difference. In one case there is a broad white band, in two cases a narrow 
white band, in two other cases a very indistinct buffy band, and in one case no band other than the 
black one, which here is very finely tipped with whitish. In the females (Anas aberti included) the 
anterior margin of the speculum is, in four specimens, bordered by a black band formed by black- 
tipped greater coverts; next comes a band of buff color which shows a marked variation. In one 
case it is almost indistinguishable, while in three cases it varies from a very light buff to a russet 
color. In the fifth case. No. 1 13,450, as Dr. Stejneger has described, the normal white bar is replaced 
by a gray one, while a new bar of pure white is interposed between the black bar and the speculum, 
an arrangement entirely unique and non-Mallardlike. The posterior end of the speculum appears 
to be always uniform : it is bordered by two bars, an inner black and an outer white one. Thus we 
see a general tendency to variation anterior to the speculum, as has been pointed out for Anas 
diazi. There are several other minor points of interest about Anas wyvilliana, one of which is a slight 
tendency to albinism in at least three specimens. 

Note on Abert’s Duck (Anas aberti): This duck, represented by the single type specimen, taken 
at Mazatlan on the west coast of Mexico, was described by Ridgway in 1878. At that time Anas 
wyvilliana had just been described by Sclater from a male specimen, and the sex dimorphism of that 
species was not recognized. Ridgway compared his Anas aberti (type No. 12,789 U.S. National 
Museum) with a specimen of Anas wyvilliana thought to be a female. It appears, however, from his 
description (1878, p. 251) that this bird must have been a male (V-shaped breast markings, densely 
streaked throat, etc.) so that the similarity of Anas aberti and Anas wyvilliana escaped his notice. 

In 1888, Dr. Stejneger (1888, p. 99) took up the question of Anas aberti. He says: “So close is the 
similarity that I am unable to distinguish No. 113,450 (A. wyvilliana), from the type of A. aberti 
except by the larger size and the total absence even of an indication of supraocular and transocular 
stripes.” Now a comparison of the size of Anas aberti with four other undoubted female specimens 
shows that it is in one case even larger than Anas wyvilliana. As to the stripes on the head, I can see 
no difference on comparing the two specimens above referred to by Dr. Stejneger, and at best the 



supraocular and transocular stripes in Hawaiian Ducks are very indefinite. They are barely per- 
ceptible in the female and absent in the male. A careful comparison of the type of Anas aberti with 
the four other undoubted female specimens in the Museum of Comparative Zoology and the U.S. 
National Museum, shows no essential difference in color, pattern or size, hence it appears that in the 
absence of any further material from Mexico Anas aberti must be considered as a female Hawaiian 
Duck, accidentally occurring in Mexico and no longer deserving specific distinction (Phillips, lOPJa). 


Haunts. This duck is without doubt closely related to the Mallard and is perhaps, 
as R. C. L. Perkins (1903) suggests, a dwarfed island form of the latter. It may be 
comparable to Coues’s Gadwall of the Fanning Island group. It is a fresh -water duck, 
but by no means absent from the coast, and according to Henshaw (1902) loves to fol- 
low the windings of the little mountain streams as they thread their way through the 
tangled woods, here and there forming little pools of standing water. Perkins 
found it equally at home on the hottest coasts, where suitable ponds are found, or 
in the mountains, up to 7000 or 8000 feet. Not infrequently he met with it in the 
boggy parts of the forest, and in localities quite heavily timbered, frequenting tiny 
pools of water in hollows. Even in the precipitous mountains, many scattered pairs 
visit small pools that form at the foot of waterfalls, temporary or otherwise, leaving 
these haunts at nightfall to visit the rice and taro patches of the valleys below. 

w ARINESS. On the mountain streams it is usually tame, rising slowly from the 
water and affording an easy mark (R. C. L. Perkins, 1903). Henshaw found the 
Hawaiian Duck tame and unsuspicious in localities where it was not harassed. 

Flight. Nothing has been noted that is characteristic of the flight. The birds 
are usually seen in pairs, or very small companies. Bryan and Seale (1901) speak of 
meeting wdth a flock of fourteen, and Rothschild (1900) states that after the breed- 
ing season they stay in flocks, for his collector. Palmer, observed aggregations on 
Niihau numbering at times not less than one hundred. 

Association with other Species. R. C. L. Perkins (1903) occasionally saw 
members of this species in company with Domestic Ducks, but it is doubtful if it 
ever hybridizes with them, for it is too small, and furthermore the size is uniform, 
while hybrids would be very much larger. In the winter season it undoubtedly 
associates with the Pintails and Shovellers, and with other northern ducks that 
visit the islands. 

Voice. The note is similar to that of the Mallard, but less powerful. The females 
quack loudly as they rise from the water, just as female Mallards do (R. C. L. 
Perkins, 1903). 

Food. The stomachs of a pair shot in October, 1899, on the coast of Kauai were 



examined by Henshaw (1902) and were found crammed with two species of small 
fresh- and brackish-water shells {Melania newcombii and Hydrohia porrecta). I have 
referred above to their feeding in rice and taro patches. R. C. L. Perkins (1903) says 
he has frequently found their crops filled with rice, and he states that they are partial 
also to various kinds of mollusks, to the larvae of dragonflies and to such other ani- 
mal or vegetable food as is accessible. 

Courtship and Nesting. The nesting-time is very irregular, as might be ex- 
pected in so uniform and semi-tropical a climate. In some localities at an elevation 
of 4000 feet, flappers are in fine condition in August, and on New Year’s Day, 1893, 
a pair was shot which had just hatched a large brood of young. The majority, how- 
ever, breed between March and June (R. C. L. Perkins, 1903). Rothschild’s collector 
took nestlings on Oahu on May 6. 

So far as we know the breeding habits are similar to those of the jNIallard, but 
apparently no nests or eggs have ever been described. The birds retire to the small 
streams of the interior to breed (Henshaw, 1902). R. C. L. Perkins (1903) says that 
he shot a duck and drake together, and on gathering them up found that they had 
already hatched a large brood. This would seem to indicate that the sexes remain 
together and that both take part in rearing the young. Indeed, this is not surprising, 
when we remember that in nearly all species that lack definite eclipse-plumage 
changes, the pairs remain together during the breeding season. 

Status. This species has greatly diminished in numbers since the intensive 
cultivation of sugar-cane and coffee began. It is now probably on the verge of ex- 
tinction. The Norway rat, accidentally introduced, made such ravages on the sugar- 
cane that the mongoose was imported in the hope of relieving the situation. This 
animal, the greatly increased number of sportsmen, and the paucity of large areas of 
open fresh water in the islands, have all contributed to bring about the present 
unfortunate state of affairs. It seems unlikely that the species can survive many 
years. Bryan (1915) said that it was very rare, except on Kauai, and in a letter 
written to me in August, 1920, the same authority has no further information. He 
does say, however, that this duck is at present protected by Territorial law and 
even the killing of specimens is prohibited. 

Food Value. The Hawaiian Duck is a good table bird and was formerly shot 
in great numbers by sportsmen, chiefly about the ponds in the plains, but to some 
extent in the mountains also. In the old days it, together with gallinules and coots, 
was eaten by the natives who held it in high estimation. 

Behavior in Captivity. So far as I know this species has never been imported 
alive into either America or Europe. 


(Plate 21) 


Anas laysanensis Rothschild, Bull. British Ornith. Club, no. 4, p. xvii, 1892. 

Horizonetta laysanenis Oberholser, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 30, p. 120, 

Vernacular Name 

English: Laysan Teal 


.\DtJLT Male: Forehead deep shining brown, almost black, due to the fact that the black tips and 
margins of the feathers are quite abraded; top of head and neck similar, but showing more brown on 
the sides; the chin shows some white feathers, and there is a somewhat irregular ring of white feathers 
around the eye. Feathers of the upper surface deep blackish brown, with more or less irregular 
U-shaped or rather “obomegoid ” (Ridgway, Nomencl. Colors, pi. 15, fig. 8, 1886) markings of a light 
rusty brown; scapulars and greater wing-coverts with several markings, and all the feathers with 
more or less abraded borders of the same color; rump and upper tail -coverts more shining black; a 
large speculum of deep green, more velvety black behind and on the upper margin, bordered below 
by a broad white line. Primaries pale brown, with pale, almost whitish, edges. Feathers of the lower 
surface very pale rusty brown, with irregular darker bars and spots, somewhat whitish near the 
shaft and base. Under wing-coverts brown and rusty with a good deal of white, axillaries white with 
pale brown spots (Rothschild, 1900). 

Wing 192-210 mm.; culmen 39-40; tarsus 37-39. 

Adult Female; Differs from the male in having more white on the chin and upper throat, in having 
much bolder and more patch-like rusty markings on the upper surface, and in the speculum being 
indicated only (Rothschild, 1900). 

“Iris brown; upper mandible blackish, green towards the edges; lower mandible bluish brown, 
with a dull orange mark at the base; tarsus and toes dull orange, webs browm with a bluish tinge” 
(Rothschild, 1900). 

Wing 190.5-195.6 mm.; tail 88.9; culmen 39-40.6; tarsus 35.5-43.1. 

Young in Down: One specimen taken May 20, 1902 (U.S. National Museum), pileum black; two 
black streaks, one postorbital and one below and behind eye; area between eye and base of bill also 
black; rest of face and forehead', except a median streak, rich yellow browm; chin and throat yellow 
buff; mantle dark gray with yellow hairs; back and rump nearly black; under parts rich sulphur- 
yellow color. 

Remarks: A pair of adults in the United States National Museum shows the male with the entire head 
freckled with white except on the pileum. A ring around the eye is all white; throat and chin very 
much marked with white, and the postorbital area very white; the white freckling stops suddenly at 



the junction of the neck and the body. The head of the female is also slightly marked with white. 
The appearance of albinism in this species is extremely interesting, and explainable by the intensity 
of the inbreeding that must have taken place on this small island. 


The Laysan Teal is peculiar to Laysan Island, Hawaiian group. The island is only three miles long 
and contains one small fresh-water pond. According to von Kittlitz (1834) it occurs also on Lesian- 
sky Island, but this statement has never been verified. On Laysan it has never been very common, 
and is at present reduced to small numbers. W. K. Fisher (1903) estimated its numbers at less than 
one hundred, and in 1911, Dill and Bryan (1912) saw only occasional flocks of from two to six birds. 
Mr. Palmer tells me that in 1918, there were only about thirty-five specimens left on the island. The 
species has been recorded also by Rothschild (1900) and Schauinsland (1899). 


There is almost nothing to be added to the account given by W. K. Fisher (1903) 
of the habits of this bird. I quote his notes in full. “It is surprising that an islet 
scarcely three miles in its longest dimension should harbor a peculiar species of the 
genus Anas. The birds themselves are scarcely less peculiar than their distribution. 
Most of us picture ducks as among the wariest of wild-fowl, but the Laysan Teal, 
though not exactly tame, are at any rate quite unsophisticated. These birds congre- 
gate in greatest numbers about a little rush-bordered fresh-water pond, mentioned 
in the narrative. Here we could find them at any time, standing usually on a little 
pile of rocks near the center. When disturbed near shore they quietly swam out to 
their rock and sunned themselves by the hour. We saw the ducks also on other 
parts of the island. Near the habitations there was a pair which probably had a nest 
in the vicinity. One of these used to come up to the house after nightfall and walk 
about like a barnyard fowl. Mr. Schlemmer said it was searching for millers. 

“The stomach of a male collected near the pond was gorged with small flies 
resembling the common housefly. Although these ducks can fly perfectly well they 
ordinarily did not take wing until approached within a few rods, and then never 
went far. They much prefer to walk, and we used to see them strolling about in 
pairs, or even threes. In this way they pick up their food as they go along. We 
never saw any Teal near the ocean, and it is probable they never swim in salt water. 

“We were fortunate enough to discover one nest within a couple of rods of the 
pond, placed under a thiek chenopodium bush. Six eggs of the palest green rested 
in a shallow bowl, formed of long dry juncus stems. The hollow was a little over five 
inches in diameter. As I wished, if possible, to secure a picture of the female, I 
photographed the eggs and left them till the following morning. When I returned to 
the nest, however, three of the eggs had hatched, one young was half out, another 
egg picked, and only the sixth remained whole. In shape the egg is a blunt ovate 
and measures 55 by 38 millimeters. Two days later (May 21) Mr. Snyder saw three 



old birds with broods, one of which took to the pond. I also saw a young one swim- 
ming about, the mother being hidden somewhere in the tangle of grasses.” 

Eggs which I saw at Tring were pure white to greenish white, smooth and without 

St.\tus. Rothschild’s (1900) collector. Palmer, found the Laysan Teal generally 
in pairs but sometimes in groups of a dozen or more. Like all observers since his day 
he found them exceedingly tame and says he never saw them on the water, though 
often near the beach. They frequented the scrub all over the island, but were “not 
very plentiful.” Three years later W. K. Fisher (1903) estimated their number at 
less than a hundred, and suggested that the Man-o’-War Bird {Fregata aquila) was 
keeping them in check. In 1909 a party of Japanese plumage-hunters landed on 
Laysan and in the process of collecting albatrosses almost exterminated the Teal, 
which they presumably used for food. Two years later when Dill and Bryan (1912) 
visited the island to report on the bird reservation set aside by President Roosevelt 
in 1909, and which included this island, they could not be sure that there were 
more than six individuals left. I was recently told by Dr. T. S. Palmer that they 
were certainly reduced at one time to ten, but that according to the latest report he 
had, there were in 1918 some thirty-five individuals. Another factor in the destruc- 
tion of the w’ild life on the island was the introduction of the domestic rabbit, about 
1903, by the former manager of the guano company, who planned to start a rabbit- 
canning industry. By 1911 rabbits had increased enormously but had not yet exter- 
minated the vegetation. A. M. Bailey (1919) describes a recent attempt to exter- 
minate the rabbits, which he says have overrun the island, and are destroying all 
vegetation, so that the sand is drifting. Such conditions cannot but endanger the 
existence of the Teal. During Bailey’s visit alone, 5000 rabbits were killed It is 
to be hoped that some means will be found to put an end to this pest. 

In a letter written by Dr. A. Wetmore, from Honolulu, in July, 1923, he tells me 
of his visit to Laysan in April and May, 1923. He found twenty Teal and col- 
lected six, leaving a breeding stock of fourteen. He adds that those remaining 
showed traces of albinism, and w'ere so lacking in power of flight that they were 
exhausted after going one hundred and twenty-five yards. He easily ran them 
down and captured some by hand. 


(Plate 21) 


fAnas hoschas a. freycineti Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, 
p. 649, 1856 {nomen nudum). 

Anas oustaleti Salvadori, Bull. British Ornith. Club, no. 20, p. i, 1894. 

Veknacular Names 

English: Oustalet’s Gray Duck, Marianne Islands Duck, Ladrone Duck. 

Marianne natives (Chamorro language) : Nagai, Ngang or Ngaanga. 


Adult jMale and Feilale: A specimen in the U.S. National Museum (adult female, June 6, 1900) 
shows general similarity to the Hawaiian Duck, but it is much darker above, with the back, mantle 
and scapulars nearly black and the feathers narrowly edged with light brown. Salvadori compared 
the bird to Anas superciliosa. 

Top of the head brownish black, according to Hartert, having a slight greenish gloss. An indistinct 
blackish superciliary stripe is separated from the top of the head by a narrow pale line. Sides of the 
head and neck buff, streaked with dark brown; chin and throat immaculate. The speculum is bluish 
purple, very similar to that of the Hawaiian Duck, and never a pure metallic green as in Anas 
superciliosa. It is bordered above and below by a black hne, followed by a white band. Wings dark 
brown’, under wing-coverts and axillars white. 

Iris light seal brown. BiU slate-gray or perhaps yellow sparingly spotted with black. Legs and 
feet yellow or reddish yellow. 

Wing 242-265 mm.; culmen 49-55; tarsus 40-42. 

Young in Down: Two downy young secured by Seale have the general upper coloring brown, a 
buffy spot on each side of the rump, the throat, neck and general under coloring buffy, a wide and 
distinct superciliary hne of buff, a black line from the upper mandible through the eye, and a splotch 
of brown at the nape and another at the sides of the head below the ears. Upper mandible black, 
lower yellowish; feet brownish. 

Remarks; This species was tentatively placed next to Anas hoschas by Salvadori (1895) on account 
of the tendency of the central tail-feathers to curl up. Hartert’s series showed the central rectrices 
soft but not curled up, and the sexes not differing materially. The bird seems to me to have affin- 
ities with both the Hawauan and the Australian Ducks. 


This species is known only from the islands of Guam and Saipan in the Marianne group, and has 
been recorded from there by Salvadori (1894a), Oustalet (1896) and Hartert (1898b). Matschie 
(1901) states that it is a breeding bird there but almost all the information we have is to be found 



in A. Seale’s Report of a Mission to Guam (1901, p. 25). According to this observer the species is 
not uncommon throughout the entire year and nests on the swamps and streams of Guam. It has 
also been reported for Guam by Salford (Contr. U.S. Nat. Herbarium, vol. 9, p. 80, 1905). More 
recently it was mentioned by Provazek from the northern islands (?) (Die Deutschen Marianne, 
Leipzig, 1913). 


I HAVE not been able to find out anything about the habits of this duck. Dr. Henry 
E. Crampton, who visited the Marianne Islands in 1921, wrote me that he did not 
meet with it in the interior regions of the several islands which he visited. He thinks 
that, owing to the larger population on Guam, and the lack of suitable areas for the 
birds, the species is probably more common on islands to the north, especially 
Saipan, where there are marshes. Dr. Crampton does not think that imported 
mammal pests have diminished its numbers. Dr. W. E. Salford, of the U.S. Na- 
tional Herbarium, tells me that this duck has no natural enemies, as there are no 
birds of prey on the islands except a small owl. Dr. W. E. Weston, of Harvard Uni- 
versity, spent a month upon Guam in 1918 and did not see any ducks, but he was 
told about the bird by the natives, and learned its native name. 

A letter just received (June, 1923) from Mr. H. G. Hornbostel, collecting at 
Guam for the Bishop Museum of Honolulu, gives the following information. He 
tells me that the duck is found only on Guam, Saipan, and Tinian and is now 
very rare, for there are no laws to prevent “unnecessary” bird slaughter. It lives 
in the interior, and in Guam is found only along the valley of the Talafofo River. 
My informant adds that he does not know the number of eggs laid by this duck, 
but it breeds in tall grass along the river at the end of the rainy season (January 
and February). 


(Plate 22) 


Anas ohscura Lawrence {nec Gmelin), Mem. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., vol. 2, p. 314, 

Anas diazi Ridgway, Auk, vol. 3, p. 332, 1886. 

Veenaculae Names 

English: Mexican Duck, Diaz’s Duck. 

Spanish: Pato triguero. 


Adult Male : From Anas ruhripes this species can be told by the broader and more fulvous edging of 
the feathers of the mantle and scapulars, and by the presence of a broad white wing-bar both in 
front of and behind the speculum. From Anas fulvigula, which it more nearly resembles, it can be 
told by the white speculmn-bars, by the generally darker and more uniform appearance of the back 
and scapulars, and by the absence of a black area at the base of the culmen. From the male Mallard 
in eclipse plumage it is easily distinguished by its darker under parts. The wing, especially the 
speculum, is almost exactly like that of the Mallard. 

From the female Mallard this species is easily separated by its much darker and more heavily 
mottled under parts, which are the same shade all the way from neck to vent. 

Iris brown. Bill bright yellow. Tarsus light orange to coral-red color. 

Wing 270-285 mm.; tarsus 43-48; culmen 50-53. 

Adult Female: Similar to male but with a more streaked, and less spotted pattern on lower side, 
this difference being due to a different feather-pattern on breast and abdomen. 

Iris brown. Bill orange with dusky markings, nail black. Tarsus dull orange. 

Size smaller than male. W'ing 240-260 mm., average 246; tarsus 40-46, average 43; bill 48-53, 
average 51. 

First (Juvenal) Plumage of both Sexes : Streaked on lower parts like the adult female, and with 
soft parts duller in tone. Anterior white wing-bar not so clearly defined nor so broad. Tail 
feathers blunt. 

Note: A large series of immature and female specimens shows that young at this stage are 
extremely difficult to separate from young Mallards of the same age, but the lower parts are 
as a rule somewhat more thickly streaked with a darker brown color. Size small. 

Young in Down: No specimens available. 




This rare Mexican species appears to be non-migratory and is apparently confined to the highlands 
of central Mexico. Its status is extremely uncertain, and has been much confused because of the fact 

. that some writers interpret in different ways the various references to Anas obscura in 


Mexico. Cooke (1906) evidently understands the record of Anas maculosa in Chi- 
huahua as applying to the present species, but this might be questioned, for Mr. Charles Sheldon 
tells me that he shot many “Black Ducks” near Chihuahua City, and that he is not certain what 
species they belonged to. As far as can be determined the present species is resident in the high area 
included in the States of Tepic, Jalisco, Michoacan, Mexico, Puebla, Guanajuato, and probably 
parts of Hidalgo and Zacatecas. Grayson (Lawrence, 1874) found many in pairs at Tepic in June 
and supposed that it bred there, though he saw none as far north as Mazatlan. Sanchez (1877-78) 
has also reeorded it from Tepic, while it has been found by Duges (1869) at Guadalajara in Jalisco. 
Cooke (1906) is authority for the statement that it occurs in Michoacan, but I have been unable to 
discover the source of his information. In the lake region of the Valle de Mexico the species seems 
to be more common than elsewhere, having been recorded from there by Sanchez (1877-78), Villada 
(1891-92) and Herrera (1888). Villada (1891-92) states that it is found in winter in the Valle, and 
as far as known it is a non-migratory bird there. At Lerma, a very high valley northwest of Mexico 
City, Goldman (U.S. Biological Survey) found several specimens of this duck. The type examples 
were taken by Ferrari-Perez (1886) in Puebla at San Ysidoro. He found the species in May. Farther 
north he took specimens at the Laguna del Rosario, Tlaxcala. Mr. W. W. Brown visited the lake 
region near Mexieo City in the fall of 1910 in the interests of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, 
and sent back a series of six males and seventeen females. There are no records of its occurrence in 
Hidalgo, but it has been reported from Guanajuato by both Sanchez (1877-78) and Duges (1869). 




Anas novimexicana Huber, Auk, vol. 37, p. 273, 1920. 

Anas diazi novimexicana Conover, Auk, vol. 39, p. 412, 1922. 


Addxt Male: Very similar to Anas diazi diazi, but apparently always to be distinguished by an 
irregular wavy barring of fulvous color on the mantle. In some specimens there is a tendency to a 
darker and more mottled breast. In the series before me are ten undoubtedly adult males, including 
the type. These are very puzzling birds because they are not exactly uniform and show in several 
cases marked Mallard characters. These are most pronounced in specimen No. 26,041, J. E. Thayer 
collection (Las Cruces, Mew Mexico, April 6, 1920). In this bird the under tail-coverts are nearly 
jet black, some of the upper tail-coverts are metallic green and the two central tail-feathers are 
distinctly upturned and very pointed. A few green feathers are present around the back of the head 
and the long scapulars are covered with fine dots, both Mallard characteristics. In specimen No. 
635 (collector’s number) three central tail-feathers are almost black and nearly as upturned as in a 
male Mallard. From a male Mallard in full eclipse plumage this race can be told by its darker under 
surface and barred, rather than plain-colored mantle. 

Iris brown. BiU bright yellow. Legs orange. 

Map 29 . Distribution of Mexican Duck (Anas diazi) 

Sporadic record indicated by cross ( X) ; supposed distribution by interrogation marks (?) 



It is more than likely that other specimens of this duck will be found in collections. Black Ducks, 
probably of the diazi type, are found, according to Mr. Charles Sheldon, in central Chihuahua, 
Mexico, and a correspondent, Mr. Charles K. Jameson of El Paso, Texas, writes that he has shot 
“Black Ducks” in northwestern Chihuahua, 200 miles due south of Columbus, New Mexico. He 
adds that he once saw two in the pine woods of the Sierra Madre Mountains at an altitude of 8000 
feet. He thinks, however, that they must be rare all through this region. Dr. A. Wetmore noted a 
large, dark-colored duck at Lake Burford, New Mexico, and there is a female in the collection of the 
U.S. Biological Survey taken at Grafton, California, July, 1900, which appears to belong to this 
race. Another female taken at River Arrib, New Mexico, July 17, 1913, is also in the collection of 
the U.S. Biological Survey. 

Mr. Aldo Leopold stated that near Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the Rio Grande River, where he 
has done much shooting, these ducks represent about 5% of all ducks shot. They pass southward, 
according to his observation, early in the season. 

Black Ducks of some sort have been taken in the Uinta Mountains (southwestern Wyoming or 
northeastern Utah), according to G. B. Grinnell (1873). Other “Black Ducks,” perhaps this New 
Mexican Duck, were said to be common at Rush Lake, Utah, in November (Yarrow, 1877), while 
Brackett (1877) found so-called “Black Ducks” in southern Wyoming in April. This, or possibly 
Anas rubripes has been taken several times in Colorado (W. L. Sclater, 1912). A female specimen, 
said to belong to this species, was reported by Conover (1922) for Dad’s Lake, Cherry County, 
Nebraska. It was taken on October 17, 1921. 


The following field notes were contributed by Mr. Huber and kindly sent to me 
by Mr. A. C. Bent. I quote them almost entire. 

“In the valley of the Rio Grande River from El Paso, Texas, north to Albuquerque, New Mexico, 
this northern form of the diazi group makes its home. Whether on the mud-flats in the river, the 
numerous alkali ponds or cat-tail swamps throughout the valley, this duck is ever watchful and 
wary of man. 

“I have observed several New Mexican Ducks about three miles north of the city of El Paso, 
Texas, hence they probably range down the river possibly as far as the Big Bend country in Texas. 
In June, 1915, 1 saw five individuals at Belen and two at Albuquerque, New Mexico, on the mud- 
flats in the Rio Grande River. 

“Courtship. During the months of April and early May, 1920, 1 watched the courtship of sev- 
eral pairs of these ducks along the Rio Grande River west of Las Cruces, New Mexico. In April 
two, three and sometimes five New Mexican Ducks could be seen on the mud-flats in the middle of 
the river, as often with flocks of Mallards as alone. Wlien with a flock of Mallards they would stay 
together and not mix with the former. The male could be seen bowing to the female and occasionally 
pecking and pulling at her wing-feathers. When in the water the male would swim close to the 
female he had chosen, generally behind her, swim close up and pull at her feathers quacking all the 
while. If another (presumably a female) came too close he would swim rapidly at the intruder until 
she was driven to a safe distance. Returning to his prospective mate he would bob his head up and 
down a number of times quacking contentedly. Early in May these ducks were evidently mated as 
they were always seen in pairs or single birds. 

“On May 7, 1920, while watching a pair of the ducks on a mud-flat in the middle of the Rio 
Grande River west of Las Cruces, New Mexico, I witnessed a very interesting performance. Both 
ducks took flight simultaneously, rising in the air at an angle of about thirty degrees. They were 
flying slowly, their wings seeming to rise higher than in ordinary flight, both quacking incessantly. 
They passed the point where I was concealed about four hundred feet away and about three hundred 


Plate 22 





feet high, the male (as I afterward learned) directly above the female. Making a large circuit over 
the land, the male all the while keeping his position directly above the female, they swung again 
over the river coming head up into the light wind, whereupon they set their wings and descended to 
the water, the female slightly in the lead. Immediately upon alighting copulation occurred. 

“Nesting. The nest and eggs of the New Mexican Duck, so far as I know, still remain to be 
described. Although I hunted almost daily during the last half of May and the first half of June, 
I was not successful in locating a single nest of this species. 

“Young. On July 20, 1920, in a cat-tail {Typha latifolia) swamp of about seven acres extent, 
four miles southwest of Las Cruces, New Mexico, I fiushed a female that evidently had young. 
She fiew over the cat-tails in circles, while I spent over an hour wading the swamp looking for the 
young; she was apparently not at all afraid of me, as she passed time and time again within a few 
feet of my head. I did not, however, find the yoimg. On July 27, 1920, a young fully feathered male 
and an adult female were collected from a flock of twelve individuals that were feeding where the 
overflow from an irrigation ditch ran into the Rio Grande five miles southwest of Las Cruces, New 
Mexico. From this date on, flocks of from ten to twenty-five young accompanied by old females 
could be seen feeding along the river-bank. Even at this age they were extremely wary and one 
could get within range only by the greatest stealth and stalking. 

“Food. The feeding habits of this species are similar to those of the Mallard. They feed along 
the river-banks, in the drainage-canals, ponds and cat -tail swamps. In the spring the flooded alfalfa- 
fields are favorite grounds for food. Ever extremely wary, they pass much of the daytime on the 
mud-flats in the middle of the river. At dusk they seek their favorite feeding grounds, cat-tail 
swamp or flooded alfalfa-field, even though it lie close to a ranch house or small settlement. The food 
I found to consist of green shoots of alfalfa and cat -tail, grass roots, corn, wheat, and numerous 
small fresh-water shells together with the larger seeds of weeds and grasses. 

“Behavior. The flight of the New Mexican Duck is similar to that of the Mallard but stronger 
and somewhat faster. It was during the very heavy wind-storms lasting two or three days that 
occur in March in southwestern New Mexico that I noticed the greater strength of flight of this 
species over the Mallard. One could easily distinguish an individual of this species in a flock of 
Mallards by its darker color and conspicuous pyrite-yellow bill. 

“While feeding in the ponds and flooded alfalfa-fields it keeps a short distance away from the 
other ducks. Food is obtained in the deeper water by thrusting the head straight down and keeping 
the body nearly submerged by the use of the feet, the tail only standing straight up above the water. 
I have never seen this duck dive even when wounded. Several times while hunting with decoys on 
some of the larger ponds, combined flocks of Mallards and New Mexican Ducks would alight a 
hundred or more yards beyond the decoys. Ever wary and suspicious the New Mexican Ducks 
would feed by themselves and never venture nearer the decoys, while the unsuspecting Mallards 
would soon be swimming in and out amongst the wooden ducks.” 


(Plate 22) 


Anas ohscura Audubon, Ornith. Biograph., vol. 4, p. 15, 1838 (in part). 

Anas obseura, xav. fulvigula Ridgway, Amer. Naturalist, vol. 8, p. Ill, 1874. 

Anas fulvigula Ridgway, Proc. U.S. National Museum, vol. 1, p. 251, 1878. 

Anas maculosa Sennett, Auk, vol. 6, p. 263, 1889. 

Anas fulvigula maculosa Coues, Auk, vol. 7, p. 61, 1890. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Southern Black Duck, Florida Dusky Duck, Florida Black Duck, Brown 
Mallard, Striped Mallard, Summer Mallard, Summer Duck, Summer French 
Duck, Dusky Duck, Mottled Duck, Texas Dusky Duck, Mexican Mallard. 
French: Canard des Isles, Canard noir d’ete. 

German: Florida Dunkele Ente. 


Adult Male: Similar to Anas rubripes but paler all over. Edges of scapular feathers black, those 
of rump more broadly margined with buff; feathers of mantle with central buffy areas. Lower surface 
not very different from that of Anas rubripes, but whole head very much paler, the lower cheeks, 
chin, and throat immaculate. Speculum usually the same, but in a few specimens it is much more 
green than purple, and different from any speculum of Anas rubripes. 

Iris dark brown. Bill very brilliant yellow or cadmium orange with nail black, and a black line 
along base of culmen. Membrane between rami of lower maxillae black, and a black area one quarter- 
inch wide at angle of jaw. Legs and feet brilliant orange. 

Size slightly smaller than Anas rubripes. Wing 241-263 mm., average 252; bill 53-59, average 54; 
tarsus 45-48, average 46. 

Adult Female: Very similar to male but upper breast not quite such a rich brown color and lower 
parts in general somewhat more streaked and less mottled in appearance. 

Iris as in male. Bill dull orange, with dirty black spots, especially below nostril, and a black area 
at angle of culmen. Legs and feet reddish orange, not so brilliant orange as in male. 

Size considerably less than male. Wing 223-242 mm., average 236; bill 49-54, average 52; tarsus 
41-46, average 43. 

Young in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Probably more streaked on lower parts, and with soft parts 
duller in color. 

Young in Down: Compared with young of Anas rubripes or Anas boschas this species is 



lighter colored all over. The sides of the head are paler, the dark area on the top of the head is more 
restricted, leaving a broad white superciliary stripe on each side, meeting in front to form a white 
forehead. The black streak between bill and eye is absent, or nearly so, and the postorbital stripe 
is narrow and paler colored. The downy tail-feathers are very light gray, instead of nearly black, 
and the two white rump-spots are somewhat more prominent. 

Note: Examination of a very large series has convinced me that the so-called “Mottled Duck” 
of Sennett, Anas fulvigula maculosa, can no longer be considered a valid race. Specimens from the 
Vermilion Bay region of Louisiana are much darker and of a richer chestnut color, but this is without 
doubt due to stain. The cheeks of Texan birds are not differently streaked, and the greenish specu- 
lum of Florida birds is found only occasionally. The mottled appearance of the breast is character- 
istic of old, full-plumaged males, wherever the species occurs (see Phillips, 1912a). 


The Southern Black Duck is a local, semi-tropical species confined to the peninsula of Florida, and 
the Gulf Coast of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Its status is somewhat 
uncertain, because it is so frequently confounded with the Northern Black Duck (Anas rubripes) 
which also occurs in Florida and on the Gulf Coast. Either one or the other of these species may be 
found in Cuba (Cabanis, 1857; Cory, 1889) and in Jamaica (Cory, 1889; March, 1864; Gosse, 1847) 
but the tendency at present seems to be to reckon all the West Indian specimens as examples of the 
true Black Duck. According to Cooke (1906) the present species breeds in southern 
Florida and less commonly also in the northern part. He furthermore states that it 
seems to be absent from the northeastern sections though it is found in the northwestern parts of the 
State. The northernmost record seems to be Micanopy, in the interior, latitude 29° 30' north 
(U.S. Biological Survey) though F. M. Chapman (1888) did not find it in that vicinity at Gainesville. 
Cory (1890) has recorded it from Banana River and the British Museum has specimens from Lake 
Hiehpoochee. One or two are shot nearly every winter at the Canaveral Club, near Titusville. 
The species is said to extend south only to Eden on the east coast, latitude 27° 20' north, but Mr. 
F. H. Kennard {in litl.) speaks of it as common south of Lake Okeechobee, and Dr. Thomas Barbour 
informs me that he saw one pair at Royal Palm State Park, twelve miles southwest of Homestead, 
and only a short distance from Cape Sable. Even at Cape Sable it has been found nesting in June 
(A. H. Howell, U.S. Biological Survey notes). During his many journeys through the Florida Keys 
Dr. Barbour says he never saw a single specimen. 

According to the U.S. Biological Survey the southern limit of its ordinary range on the west coast 
of Florida is Fort Myers, latitude 26° 40', and Scott (1892) speaks of it as common at Lake Flirt in 
the same Caloosahatchie region. Baird, Brewer and Ridgway (1884) have recorded it from Sarasota 
and it is common at Old Tampa Bay (Scott, 1892). On the west coast it extends north to Tarpon 
Springs, where it is not common (Scott, 1892). There is one record for western Florida, at Whitfield 
(U.S. Biological Survey). Brewster and F. M. Chapman (1891) have reported it questionably from 
the Suwanee River. On the whole the species seems to be most common on the east coast, and it is 
generally supposed that most of them breed in the interior where they are less likely to be disturbed 
(U.S. Biological Survey). Mr. Griscom of the American Museum informs me that local breed- 
ing ducks, almost certainly of this species, are common at St. Marks, northwestern Florida. The 
species has not been recorded from the coasts of Alabama or Mississippi but it undoubtedly occurs 

Specimens that have been recorded under this name from Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico, etc., 
are probably to be referred to the New Mexican Duck (Anas diazi novimexicana) recently described 
by Huber (1920). 





It is a common species in Louisiana, and breeds there abundantly (Beyer, 1900). One or two 
observers think it may leave the State in winter, but the evidence overwhelmingly shows that the 
birds are resident in Louisiana as in Texas, since they are met with at all times of the 
year in both States. According to the U.S. Biological Survey the species is found in 
Louisiana from Belle Isle, Abbeville and Lake Arthur west along the littoral of the Gulf of Mexico. 
McAtee (U.S. Biological Survey) says it is a common resident in the Vermilion Bay region and he 
has recorded it from Grand Chenier and Gum Cove, as a winter bird. At Cameron he says it is 
abundant in November and December. In four or five days’ shooting in the Vermilion Bay region 
in January, 1913, I saw hundreds of these birds and shot ten or fifteen. It is important to note 
that so far nearly all records for this State are from the coast. I know of no specific records for the 
northern sections, but Beyer, Allison and Kopman (1907) say that in winter its numbers are largely 
increased and that it may be found on lakes even in the northern part of the State. 

In Texas the present species seems to be abundant all along the coast from the Louisiana boundary 
to the mouth of the Rio Grande (U.S. Biological Survey), but it is absent in the northwestern areas 
of the State. The only interior records are those for Waco and Mason (U.S. Biological 
Survey). Strecker (1912) states that it is very rare in the central areas. On the coast 
it is, as I have said, abundant, from the Louisiana frontier at Sabine (Lloyd, U.S. Biological Survey), 
at Bolivar (U.S. Biological Survey), at Matagorda and at Rockport (McAtee, ibid.), most of these 
being winter records. In the southeastern section, the species is commonly found and is widely dis- 
tributed. It has been taken at San Antonio in summer (Dresser, 1866; U.S. Biological Survey), 
and small flocks of this or the New Mexican Duck were seen near there in winter (N. C. Brown, 
1882), and at Corpus Christi it is common (British Museum; Sennett, 1879). On the Nueces River 
it is a common bird in summer as in winter, and it has been known to breed in this vicinity, as in 
San Patricio, Refugio and other southeastern counties (Strecker, 1912; Lloyd, U.S. Biological 
Survey). These ducks are said to be common also on Padre Isle, in August and in November (Lloyd, 
ibid.), and they have been taken at Point Isabel in May (Sennett, 1879). Merrill (1878) states that 
a few breed at Fort Brown, on the lower Rio Grande, though it does not seem to occur south of the 
Rio Grande, unless the specimen recorded by Emmet (1888), from Chihuahua, Mexico, 
really belongs to this species. Other Texan records for Anas fulvigula are those of 
Howell (U.S. Biological Survey) for High Island, where it was common in February, and of Simmons 
(1915) for Pierce, where the birds were breeding. 

Broadly speaking this is a coastal species, essentially non-migratory, but it may be found to dis- 
perse inland during the breeding season. Its limits in the interior are, however, very imperfectly 



Haunts. In Florida, although found throughout the lake regions, this duck is more 
common on or near the coast, on fresh and brackish water. Dr. Thomas Barbour, 
who has done extensive collecting in Florida, noticed it in maximum abundance 
around the edge of the Everglades, often in small pond-holes hollowed out by alliga- 
tors. He found it far less common on Lake Okeechobee, though he saw a few on 
Pelican Bay, at the south end of the lake. At the head of the Pompano Canal, north 
of Miami, and seven or eight miles from the coast, they were more abundant 
than in any other place that he visited. They are birds of the open swamps and so- 
called “bonnet marshes,” where the yellow water-lily, on whose seeds they feed, 
grows in abundance. They are seldom seen on wooded ponds among live oaks, which 
the Carolina Duck (Lampronessa) prefers. Occasional pairs are scattered through 























ponds in the open pine woods, but the so-called “piney woods” are not their usual 
habitat. In his many journeys throughout the Florida Keys in both summer and 
winter Dr. Barbour never saw a single specimen. On the west coast of Florida a 
correspondent quoted by Baird, Brewer and Ridgway (1884) found them in August, 
September and the first part of October, in parties of from five to twenty, leaving the 
fresh ponds and flying across the bay to the sandbars on the inner side of the Keys, 
where they spent the night on the pools or coves near the mangroves, returning at 
sunrise next morning. At that time the birds shot were all males, but in January, 
February and March, mated pairs spent the night in the same manner. I myself 
noticed nothing characteristic in the winter habits of the Southern Black Duck as 
seen in Vermilion Bay, Louisiana, in January. They were certainly a common species, 
easily distinguishable from northern Black Ducks by their buffy heads and lighter 
under parts, and they outnumbered the northern migrants by about twenty to one. 

Waeiness. The Southern Black Duck is a shy bird but I gather that it is not 
quite so wary as the true Black Duck. Personally I could not see that these birds 
were much tamer than northern ducks, at any rate during the shooting season in 
Louisiana. In the early spring in the Everglades I have seen the male of a mated 
pair return constantly to the very spot where his mate was shot. 

Daily Movements. Their daily movements do not differ from those of Mal- 
lards. They are more active in the evening, and might be termed crepuscular. 

Gait, Swimming, Flight. There is nothing in the gait or swimming habits of 
this species to distinguish it from the Mallard or the Black Duck, though it might 
be said that on the wing it has a somewhat more slender outline, and is noticeably 
smaller. They are probably never found in large flocks and are seen more or less in 
pairs throughout the whole year. Dr. Thomas Barbour tells me that he once saw a 
flock of forty, but companies of more than ten or fifteen he regards as unusual. 

Association with other Species. Within the range of this species in Florida 
there are not many northern migratory ducks except Lesser Scaups, Mallards, Teals 
and Carolina Ducks. Southern Black Ducks are said to associate but rarely with any 
of these. In the Vermilion Bay region of Louisiana, where the marshes are populated 
by enormous numbers of Mallards, Pintails, Teals and Shovellers, I usually saw these 
ducks flying in little parties by themselves. In that region some of them pair and 
nest very early in the spring or even in late winter, so that many of them probably 
withdraw from the large marshes long before most of the northern migrants have left. 

Voice. The voice is very similar to that of the Mallard or the Black Duck, if 



not indistinguishable. Dr. Barbour tells me that he never noticed any difference, 
and Cory (1896) is of the same opinion. Harper (U.S. Biological Survey) speaks of 
the note as similar though perhaps not so loud as that of the Black Duck. Green, 
another Government collector, describes the note as slightly different from that of 
the Black Duck, and resembling hek-hek-hek-hek, quickly uttered. From the ob- 
servations which I myself made on birds in confinement and also in the field, I must 
confess that I never noticed anything characteristic in the voice. But these ducks 
are as a rule very silent, more so even than Mallards in the wild state. 

Food. A series of fifty-one stomachs of the Southern Black Duck was examined 
by McAtee (1918) and forty-eight were used in tabulating the percentages of various 
foods. These specimens were collected from November to April in the Everglades, 
and the river marshes of Florida, the coast marshes of Louisiana, and the coastal 
lakes and lagoons of Texas. The food is similar to that of the Black Duck but in- 
cludes even more animal matter. In fact 40% of the entire diet is of this nature. 
It thus consumes 15% more animal matter than the Black Duck and about 30% 
more than the Mallard. This is doubtless due to the fact that the habitat of the 
Southern Black Duck is subject to almost no cold weather so that animal life is 
abundant throughout the winter. Almost half of the vegetable food consists of 
various grasses, including the root-stocks, stems and leaves. Of the grass seeds con- 
sumed, waste rice gleaned from the rice-fields is most common. Probably in the 
summer the growing rice crop may be resorted to, at least these ducks are said to be 
destructive to growing rice. The seeds of smart-weed comprise 9.54% of the total 
diet. No fewer than 800 seeds of prickly smart-weeds {Polygonum sagittatum) were 
taken from one stomach. Seeds and tubers of sedges compose 6.34%, while seeds of 
water-lilies and coon-tail make up 3.11%. Seeds, stems and foliage of pond-weed 
and widgeon-grass are in the proportion of only 1.6%, while bayberries and seeds of 
buttonbush were also found. The principal animal food consists of shell-fish, which 
form nearly 27% of the whole diet and includes snails, some nearly one inch in 
diameter; insects, including dragon-fly nymphs, w'aterbugs, caddis larvae, beetles, 
and flies, even horse-fly larvae. Crustaceans comprise 2.77%, and small fishes 
2.54% of the w'hole diet. The stomach of a male taken by Harper (U.S. Biological 
Survey), in eastern Florida, contained 99% of smart- weed. 

Courtship and Nesting. The breeding season of this species is undoubtedly 
more irregular than in northern ducks and covers a greater period of time. A male 
killed by Harper (U.S. Biological Survey) on January 30 had large sex organs, and 
Dr. Thomas Barbour has heard of flappers being seen on Banana Creek, Indian 
River, early in March. Much earlier dates which I can only regard as very unusual 
were recorded by Mcllhenny (1916) and also in a letter to me. He reported nests 



in October, both among wild birds and among pinioned individuals on his own 
ponds. At Abbeville, Louisiana, on the State game preserve, J. W. Trahan (U.S. 
Biological Survey) saw a brood about a week old on November 22, 1916! 

Southern Black Ducks are more or less paired all winter, and doubtless occasion- 
ally nest as early as late February, for downy young have been seen on the Waka- 
sassa River, near Gun town, Mississippi, as early as March 25 (U.S. Biological Sur- 
vey). There are various records for March. Baird, Brewer and Ridgway (1884) quote 
their correspondent, Moore, who says that in Florida these ducks hatch throughout 
the month of April. Scott (1892) states that they nest late in April which certainly 
seems somewhat late for the bulk of the birds. Near Houston, Texas, many young 
begin to fly by late May. Audubon found a nest on April 30 on Galveston Island, 
Texas. Many others seen at that time were undoubtedly breeding. 

A study of the display in this species would be very interesting in order to deter- 
mine whether it resembles that of the Mallard. Those that I have kept in confine- 
ment never mated or laid eggs, though the males readily crossed with female Mal- 

The nest is always placed on the ground in drier portions of the marshes and often 
in low grass (Maynard, 1882). A nest described by Baird, Brewer and Ridgway was 
carefully screened from view on all sides, and so canopied by the standing grass that 
the eggs were not visible from above. Davie (1898) mentions a nest in Louisiana 
which consisted of a foundation of rushes and was placed on top of an old muskrat 
house. Another nest, which would seem to be unusual, was found in a small prairie 
pond near Houston, Texas (Simmons, 1915). The pond was nearly covered by tall 
grass and rushes, and the nest was eight inches above the water in thick grasses 
where the water was four inches deep. 

The normal clutch contains from eight to ten eggs, though as many as fourteen 
seem to have been found (Cory, 1896). Maynard (1889-90) fixes the clutch at six 
to eight, which is probably more nearly the average. The eggs resemble those of 
the Black Duck, but are of a lighter shade of greenish white (Cory, 1890a; Baird, 
Brewer and Ridgway, 1884). In Louisiana one clutch averaged slightly smaller than 
those of the Black Duck, measuring 2.14-2.25 inches by 1.53-1.60 (Davie, 1898). 
Eggs taken in Florida show little divergence in size from those of the Black Duck, 
measuring 56-58.5 mm. by 33-34.3 mm. (Maynard, 1889-90). 

It would be of great interest to know whether the male stays with the female 
longer than in case of the Mallard. I should not be surprised to find that such is the 
case. A male bird was found near the vicinity of the nest on the twenty -fourth day 
of incubation (Baird, Brewer, and Ridgway, 1884) and Maynard (1882) while he 
was engaged in catching some downy young, noticed a male who responded to the 
loud quacking of the mother duck. This male approached to within fifty feet of the 



Status. An estimate made by Harper (U.S. Biological Survey) places the 
probable number of Southern Black Ducks in the eastern half of Florida from 
Okeechobee north, at 5000. The species is more uncommon on the west coast at 
Tarpon Springs (Scott, 1888), but was very plentiful in the Caloosahatchie region 
(Scott, 1892). Maynard (1882) considered it remarkably abundant on the Indian 
River. Cory (1896) spoke of it as becoming rare in many localities where once 
common. Mr. F. H. Kennard informs me that in the area south of Lake Okeechobee, 
which he recently traversed, these ducks were comparatively common in districts 
difficult of access. He adds (in litt.): “From what I know by hear-say I should say 
that this duck is not holding its own. In Florida, the people, both natives and visi- 
tors, go around with guns and shoot about everything they see.” The recent very 
extensive drainage operations in the Everglades can scarcely fail to affect the status 
of this species and to concentrate those birds which have been displaced from more 
favorable areas. The future of these birds is far from promising if agricultural de- 
velopment proceeds as rapidly as it does at present. Two places where they are still 
really abundant, according to Dr. Thomas Barbour, are in the chain of ponds due 
west of Lake Worth, and at the head of the Pompano Canal. Prairie fires which are 
often set in order to improve the pasture in the pine barrens of Florida are said to be 
destructive to these ducks during the nesting season (Baird, Brewer and Ridg\\ay, 
1884). Elliot (1898) was of the opinion that the species would not hold its own in 

On the coast of Louisiana, in Mcllhenny’s opinion (1916), this duck is on the in- 
crease, and the recent enactment of the Federal Migratory Bird Law, together with 
the establishment of the Marsh Island and Rockefeller Bird Sanctuaries, cannot help 
being a valuable factor in increasing its numbers locally. Extraordinary estimates 
of the actual numbers of pairs breeding in a given area of marsh in the Vermilion Bay 
region have been sent in to the Biological Survey. Some of them are so high, 100 
pairs on 200 acres, that they can hardly be taken seriously, but they do point out 
the thriving condition of the species on the coast of Louisiana. 

Damage. McAtee (1918) was informed by natives of Louisiana that Southern 
Black Duck are sometimes destructive to growing rice on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana, 
but on the other hand he found them eating the so-called “red rice ” and other waste 
rice during the winter months, a habit which might tend to have a beneficial effect. 

Food Value. Judging from the specimens I ate in Louisiana I should say that 
the flesh of this duck equals that of the Mallard. I am told that the same is true of 
birds killed in eastern Florida, but Hoxie (U.S. Biological Survey) remarks in his 
field notes that the flesh is likely to be muddy-flavored. Kopman (1921) considers 
the flesh inferior to the Mallard’s. 



Hunt. This species is not sufficiently abundant in any one area to be profitably 
hunted with decoys or blinds. Specimens are usually taken by still-hunting, or by 
pushing about in canoes. 

Behavior in Captivity. Southern Black Duck seem never to have been ex- 
ported to Europe, probably because they are not ornamental. But in America they 
are occasionally kept. I obtained three or four from the late Wilton Lockwood some 
fifteen years ago. A few years since, Mr. Mcllhenny sent me several pairs from 
Avery Island, Louisiana. They never nested, but I crossed the males with Mallard 
Ducks in a hybridizing experiment, the object of which was to determine the amount 
of Mendelian segregation in the second generation. It may be of interest to note here 
that the first cross produces hybrids very much lighter-colored and more Mallard- 
like than the Black Duck x Mallard crosses. In fact this species behaves in a genetic 
sense as if it were a Mallard with the male characters dropped out, rather than like 
a Black Duck. Moore {fide Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) possessed seven birds 
which he had hatched out under a hen. Even in the third summer he did not succeed 
in breeding them, though they were in their native climate. Mcllhenny, however, is 
said to have bred them on a large enclosed pond. He erossed many with Mallards, 
apparently with the idea of producing a local strain of the latter duck. 

My birds stood our northern winters as well as other water-fowl and seemed no 
more delicate than common Black Ducks or Mallards. 


(Plate 23) 


Anas obscura Gmelin {nec Pontoppidan, 1763), Linne’s Systema Naturse, ed. 13, 
vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 541, 1788. 

Anas hoschas, var. obscura Lesson, Traite d’Ornith., p. 634, 1831. 

Anas obscura rubripes Brewster, Auk, vol. 19, p. 183, 1902. 

Anas rubripes Dwight, Auk, vol. 26, p. 422, 1909. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Dusky Duck, Black Duck or Black INIallard, Red-legged Black Duck, 
Spring or Winter Black Duck, Black Stock Duck. 

French: Canard noir. 

German: Dustere Ente, Dunkle Ente, Schwarze Stockente. 

Spanish: Pato triguero. 

Mexican: Xomotl. 


Adult Male: General color deep browTiish black, all feathers edged with pale buff, or buflFy gray. 
Top of head black, the feathers more or less edged with buff. Cheeks, chin, throat and upper neck 
buff -colored, streaked more or less heavily with blackish. Chin and throat sometimes nearly im- 
maculate, at other times very dark; through the eye an irregular darker stripe. Speculum of the wing 
brilliant purple as in the Mallard, but framed anteriorly with a black band composed of the tips of 
the greater coverts, and posteriorly by another black band formed by the ends of the secondaries. 
A narrow white band, sometimes almost obsolete, is present on the tips of the secondaries. Axillars 
and under wing-coverts white. In full-plumaged old birds there is often a bronzy-green cast to most 
of the feathers of the upper surface, the rump may have greenish or blue reflections, and the central 
tail-feathers sharp points, or even slightly upturned ends. Slight tinges of metallic green on the back 
of the head or behind the eye are not uncommon. The feather edges on the breast are often darker 
than on the abdomen and the tertials become gray. 

Iris dark brown. Bill greenish yellow to clear yellow. Legs and feet orange red to brilliant coral red. 
Size same as the Mallard: wing 265-292 mm; bill 52-58; tarsus 44-48. 

Weight 2 pounds 8 ounces to 3 pounds 12 ounces (1.13 to 1.70 kilograms). Specimens over 3 
pounds 8 ounces are uncommon; average of males in late autumn in extra-fine condition may be 
as high as 3.2 pounds but is usually just under 3 pounds. 

Adult Female : Similar to male but slightly smaller. Bill darker and more olive-colored, mottled on 
culmen. Legs and feet greenish yellow to dull orange. This sex can usually be told in the field by 
the darker bill and smaller size. 

Plate 23 




Weight 2 pounds 7 ounces to 2 pounds 15 ounces (1.10 to 1.33 kilograms) — the maximum weight 
recorded once by myself. Average of females taken late in autumn in extra-fine condition is some- 
times as high as 2 pounds 12 ounces (1.24 kilograms), but this is very unusual. A very remarkable 
specimen, weighed and sexed by Mr. W. S. Brooks in December, 1922 (Tuckernuck Island, 
Massachusetts), went to 3 pounds 4 ounces. 

First (Juvenal) Plumage, both Sexes: Legs and feet not so richly colored; lower surface more 
streaked; chin and throat not so heavily marked. Upper surface somewhat lighter colored, espe- 
cially on mantle, but not constantly so. Tail-feathers blunt. Sexes alike except for clear greenish 
bill in male, and mottled bill in female. The bill is always a distinguishing mark if examined im- 
mediately after the bird is shot. Color change often sets in within a few minutes and may soon 
obscure the sex differences. 

Young in Down : Same as Mallard. 


Any attempt to define accurately the range of the present species is involved in much difficulty. 
This is caused by the failure of local observers to distinguish the present species from Anas fulvigula 
of Florida and Texas, and the recently described duck from New Mexico, Anas diazi novimexicana. 
The two races of Black Ducks, A. rubrifes rubripes and A. rubripes tristis, are here treated as one. 

Breeding Range 

Essentially an eastern species, the Black Duck nests not only in the northeastern United States 
and eastern Canada, but also west of James Bay and Lake Superior. In the South it is said that 
Black Ducks have nested at Narrows Isle and Currituck Club marshes. North Carolina Middle 
(G. B. Grinnell, in litt.), but in spite of repeated statements to this effect the most Atlantic 
recent writers on this district (Pearson, Brimley and Brimley, 1919) do not appear to States 
be convinced. At Pea Island, North Carolina, however, the species has evidently begun to breed 
in some numbers on an artificial pond. Many were seen in spring and in early August (1920), when 
some seven hundred to a thousand were counted there (Gould, in litt.), so that I feel certain of the 
evidence for this State. Besides this I have heard of others breeding on the west side of Pamlico 
Sound in Hyde County. In Virginia the species has bred in the coast regions at Wallop’s Isle, War- 
wick County, and on the James River (H. H. Bailey, 1913), as well as on Pope’s Isle (Whealton, in 
litt.). According to Cooke (1906) it has nested in Maryland at Ocean City and Barrow Springs. 
Whealton (in litt ) gives Middlemeer as another locality. It breeds rarely in Delaware (Cooke, 
1906; Rhoads and Pennock, 1905) and sparingly though regularly along the coast of New Jersey, 
from Ocean County to Cape May County (W. Stone, 1909; Harlow, 1918). Excepting on or near the 
coast, however, its breeding range probably does not extend south of 40° north latitude. 

Its westernmost occurrences as a breeding bird in the United States have been undetermined 
because of uncertain records for Nebraska and Kansas. In these States it was said to breed sporadi- 
cally, but the records, as well as several for Colorado, are probably to be referred to Middle 
Anas fulvigula or to the New Mexican Duck, rather than to stragglers of the present West 
species (Felger, 1910; W. L. Sclater, 1912). The same is very likely true of records for Utah and 
southeastern Wyoming, as reported by Brackett (1877). Recently Black Ducks, properly identi- 
fied, have been found in Walsh County, northeastern North Dakota, as late as April 10 (Oberholser, 
1918), and this State may yet be included in the breeding range. Reagan (1908) killed a specimen 
on the Rosebud Indian Reservation, South Dakota, and one of Mr. Osier’s ducks, banded in Ontario, 
was taken near Hudson, South Dakota, October 21, 1921. They have been seen in northern Minne- 



sota (Kennicott.j^de Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) and in western and southern districts on the 
Minnesota River, and in Kandiyohi County (Hatch, 1892; U.S. Biological Survey). A recent writer 
who is certainly mistaken (Roberts, 1919), states that they do not breed in Minnesota now. J. A. 
Allen (1868) found the species not uncommon in western Iowa in summer, and according to Cooke 
(1906) it has bred at Spirit Lake, northwestern Iowa. None of the observers quoted by R. M. Ander- 
son (1907) says anything of its breeding there, but the U.S. Biological Survey has records of a nest 
near Emmetsburg. There are no records of its having nested in Missouri. 

East of the Mississippi the Black Duck breeds in Wisconsin, especially at Green Bay (Kumlien 
and Hollister, 1903; Cory, 1909; etc.) and in Illinois, specifically on the Calumet Marshes (Nelson, 
1876; Cory, 1909). In this latter State and apparently also in Indiana and Ohio, it breeds in the 
northerly districts only (A. W. Butler, 1898; L. Jones, 1903). Doolittle (1919) has reported one or 
two pair nesting regularly at Mentor Marsh, and Henninger (1920) states that it nested at Grand 
Reservoir, western Ohio. In Michigan the species is known as a regular breeder (Cook, 1893; 
Barrows, 1912; U.S. Biological Survey records), and was said by Covert (1876) to breed commonly 
at Ann Arbor. In recent years it has bred in Alger County, peninsular Michigan, and probably in 
Cheboygan County (Wood, Smith and Gates, 1916; Wood, 1918). According to B. H. Warren 
(1890) the species has nested in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. Harlow (1918) gives various other 
records for that State. 

North and east of Pennsylvania the Black Duck is much more common. According to Eaton 
(1910) it nests all over New York State, particularly in the northern parts. It breeds in every one 
North- New England States, more commonly in the north, and is increasing. Sage, 

eastern Bishop and Bliss (1913) have recorded its breeding in Connecticut; R. H. Howe and 

States Sturtevant (1899) in Rhode Island; Forbush (1912) in Massachusetts; H. W. Wright 

(l91l) in New Hampshire; G. H. Perkins and Howe (1901) in Vermont; and O. W. Knight (1908) 
and others in Maine. 

In eastern Canada the species is very abundant in summer. Boardman (1903) and Chamberlain 
(1882) record it as a common breeder in New Brunswick, while Downs (1888) and Tufts (1918) 
Eastern make similar statements with regard to Nova Scotia. It nests all over Prince Edward 

Canada Island (MacSwain, 1908) and abundantly on the Magdalen Islands (Cory, 1878). In 

Newfoundland it is an equally common nesting bird (Harvey, Forest and Stream, vol. 3, p. 353, 
1875; J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909). It has been recorded as very abundant on Anticosti Island also 
(Brewster, 1884; Verrill, 1862; Schmitt, 1904; W. S. Brooks, in lilt.). In Labrador the species is 
widely distributed, and seems to be common (Coues, 1874). Low (1913), however, states that it is 
not abundant in the interior, and Bigelow (1902) speaks in similar terms about its status on the north 
side of Hamilton Inlet. Explorers on the plateaus back from the coast never seem to find great 
numbers. C. W. Townsend and Allen (1907) consider it common on the Hamilton River, Sandwich 
Bay, at Nain, Mingan and Cape Whittle, but not common on Hudson Strait, while at Chimo and 
George River, as well as at Hopedale, it is again common. It occurs north to Port Burwell, near the 
northern tip of Labrador (U.S. Biological Survey). Brewster (1902a) has recorded it from Ungava, 
and Hantzsch (1908) from northeastern Ungava, but I find no evidence of its occurrence on the 
tundras west of Ungava Bay, north of 60° north latitude. Southward the species was found on both 
the coasts of James Bay (Spreadborough,^de J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909), at Cape Hope and on the 
Severn River (Brewster, 1902a) and also at Rupert House (U.S. Biological Survey). It was present 
in Hannah Bay in enormous numbers during my visit there in August, 1898, and is very common 
at Moose Factory (Brewster, 1902a; and others). It has been taken on the Missanabie River, and 
at Martins Falls, Albany River (U.S. Biological Survey). 

In the Province of Quebec the Black Duck breeds everywhere in abundance (Dionne, 1906; J. 
and J. M. Macoun, 1909) especially in the St. Lawrence valley, in Leeds and Lanark Counties 
(Young, J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909) and at Montreal (Wintle, 1896). It breeds also in Ontario, 

Map 31. Distribution of Black Duck {Anas ruhripes) 
Breeding range, dotted line; winter range, broken line 
Sporadic records indicated by crosses (X) 



' -St 



though less commonly in the western parts (Mcllwraith, 1894). Raine (1892) found it nesting at 
Peterboro, and Young {Jide J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909) at Brockville. C. W. G. Eifrig (1910) regards 
it as a common breeder at Ottawa, and it breeds very commonly on the famous Long Point Marshes 
on the north shore of Lake Erie. A few breed in western Ontario (Saunders, J. and J. M. Macoun, 

Still farther west, however, the species becomes rare. On Hudson Bay it has been taken at York 
Factory by Blakiston {fide Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884), and even at Fort Churchill two 
specimens were recorded by Preble (1902). In that region it had already received a Central 
local name to distinguish it from the Mallard, and Mr. Preble tells me that he believes Canada 
there is a considerable breeding area along the west shore of Hudson Bay. The Post Manager of 
Albany Post WTites that it breeds along the west shore of James Bay in the vicinity of his post, and 
still farther north I have evidence from the Manager of York Factory who was told by the Indians 
that Black Ducks summer and rear young both north and east along the coast from that station. 
It may breed in limited numbers in the region between York Factory and Lake Winnipeg. In Mani- 
toba, however, it is a rare breeder (J. and J. M. Macoim, 1909) and probably does not occur much 
west of Red River. According to E. E. Thompson (1891) it nests rarely about Lake Winnipeg, Long 
Lake and in the Red River valley, but is rare in western Manitoba. Taverner (1919a) has recently 
recorded an instance of its breeding at Shoal Lake, near the south end of Lake Manitoba, while 
Cooke (1906) gives as exceptional records. Lake Manitoba, Long Lake, Delta, and St. Marks in the 
same region. Job (1913) who collected many ducks’ eggs at the south end of Lake Manitoba, saw 
but one Black Duck in the breeding season, and his guide told him that in the past twenty-five years 
he had shot only six. Seton (1908) gives three records for Shoal Lake and one for Lake Manitoba, 
and says it abounds on the Athabasca River! I do not know what the last statement is based on; 
neither am I able to explain MacFarlane’s (1908) statement that hundreds are seen at Cumberland 
House and Fort Chipewyan, and that the species is not uncommon on the Anderson River! There 
is one summer record for Fort Anderson but I have never found the specimen. Preble (1908) was told 
that it occurred occasionally at Fort Simpson, on the upper MacKenzie River! 

Recently a single specimen was taken as far northwest as Davidson, Saskatchewan (Report of 
Chief Game Guardian, Provinee of Saskatchewan, 1918, p. 11). The Faetor of the Hudson’s Bay 
Post at Nipigon told me that he had seen many Blaek Ducks in July at Red Lake on the English 
River north and west of Lonely Lake, and one hundred miles north of the Canadian Pacifie Railroad. 
It is, however, worth noting that most of these extreme northern and western records may be summer 
transients, and not breeding birds. We know that ducks, and probably many other migrants, make 
northern excmsions well beyond their breeding ranges in mid- or late summer. In this eonnection, 
a letter from Mr. Jabez Williams, a Faetor for forty-four years in the Hudson’s Bay Company and 
now residing at Fort Hope, on the Albany River, is significant. He writes that in his long experienee 
in all the eountry north of Lake Superior he has never seen or heard of a flock of young Black Ducks, 
although adults are common in such places as Lac Seul, Lake St. Joseph and Ebamet Lake. I have 
seen plenty in the Nipigon region myself, but it seems to me still unproved that any great breeding 
ground exists west of James Bay. 

Winter Range 

In the cold season the Black Duck is practically confined to the United States. Schmitt (1904) 
states that a few are found in winter on Anticosti Island, and according to Chamberlain (1887) a 
few winter in the Bay of Fundy. In some winters Black Duck are not uneommon in Eastern 
Nova Scotia (Tufts, 1918). In the St. Lawrence valley a few pass the eold season at Canada 
Quebee (Dionne, 1906) and individuals are seen as late as December at Montreal (Wintle, 1896). 
In a general way I think it may be said that the speeies winters in some distriets north to 45° north 



On the coast of New England the Black Duck is everywhere common in winter (G. M. Allen, 
1909; Forbush, 1912; etc., etc.), and the same is true of Long Island (Eaton, 1910), but it is rare 
in the interior. In New York State it is found on the central lakes in winter (Eaton, 1910) and it 
occurs also in western Pennsylvania (Todd, 1904). It winters in Ohio, though irregularly and spar- 
United ingly (W. L. Dawson, 1903), in Indiana (A. W. Butler, 1898) and in Illinois (Cory, 

States 1909). In Michigan it is said to winter on St. Clair Flats (Swales, fide Barrows, 1912). 

Keeler (1888), and Kumlien and Hollister (1903) say that it winters in Wisconsin, in the southern 
counties. How much farther west it may extend it is difficult to say. According to Cooke (1906) it 
has been taken in Nebraska, at Greenwood, Lincoln and Calhoun in winter. One straggler even 
reached California where it was taken at Willows, Glenn County, on February 1, 1911 (Grinnell, 
Bryant and Storer, 1918), but Dr. Joseph Grinnell informs me that Black Ducks have been kept in 
confinement in California, so that this specimen may have been an escape. 

On the coast of New England Black Ducks winter in large numbers wherever tidal marshes or 
flats are found, as far east as Portland, Maine. In New Jersey (W. Stone, 1909), Delaware (Rhoads 
and Pennock, 1905), Maryland (Cooke, 1906), and in Virginia (Rives, 1890; H. H. Bailey, 1913) 
they are plentiful. Possibly they winter in West Virginia (Rives, 1890). They are remarkably abun- 
dant in North Carolina (T. G. Pearson, Brimley and Brimley, 1919) where they comprise from 60 
to 80% of both Mallards and Black Ducks. In South Carolina where they are very common (Wayne, 

1910) they are, however, much less plentiful than Mallards on the great marshes near the mouth of 
the Santee River. Farther south they are much more rare, but occur in Glynn and Camden Counties 
and in Okeefinokee Swamp, Georgia (U.S. Biological Survey). In Florida they occur in the northern 
half only, at Orlando and Gainesville (Cooke, 1906) and south to Merritt’s Island (Harper, U.S. 
Biological Survey), where their winter range slightly overlaps that of the Southern Black Duck 
{Anas fidvigula) . 

In the Gulf States, Black Duck are taken in winter on the coast of Alabama, at Mobile Bay and 
other places (U.S. Biological Survey), and in some numbers on the Alabama River (Golsan and 
Holt, 1914), in Mississippi rather rarely and fairly eommonly in Louisiana (Beyer, Allison and 
Kopman, 1907; Corrington, 1922). How far south the winter range extends on the coast it is difficult 
to say. In Texas it has been found inland at Gainesville, Corsicana (U.S. Biological Survey) and at 
Waco (Strecker, 1912), while on the coast it has been met with south to Matagorda Bay and Corpus 
Christi (U.S. Biological Survey). In Vermilion Bay, in Louisiana, January, 1912, 1 saw it every day, 
but in small numbers only, and it was greatly exceeded there by the Southern Black Duck. 

Black Duck are occasionally seen in winter in the interior States of the Mississippi and Ohio 
valleys, and quite commonly at the mouth of the Arkansas River and at Big Lake, Arkansas. 
Others have been taken in Mississippi County, at Mud Lake, Menasha Lake and at Turrell (Howell, 

1911) , and Pindar (1887) has recorded a specimen from Fulton County, Kentucky. It has been 
known to pass the winter near Sault St. Marie, Michigan (U.S. Biological Survey). 

In the West Indies the species has perhaps strayed to Cuba (Cory, 1889). It is said to be a strag- 
West gler to Jamaica (March, 1864; A. and E. Newton, 1881; P. L. Sclater, 1910). It is 

Indies known to occur occasionally in the Bermudas (J. M. Jones, 1859; von Martens, 1859; 

S. G. Reid, 1884). 


Here again, as with the Mallard, it is very easy to give a list of dates of arrival and departure, which 
may look very well on paper, but which mean almost nothing. Let us sketch the movements briefly 
as we see them in New England. In eastern Massachusetts, as everywhere else, better protection is 
gradually bringing back the local breeding stock. These home-bred ducks change their ground ac- 
cording to the conditions of the water in the rivers and brooks. If it is a very dry summer they are 
nearly all forced out to the coastal marshes in August, but if the water holds up, they may stay close 



to their nesting grounds all summer and even into the autumn, until driven out by shooting. Nearly 
always ducks begin to gather on our coast in late July. Probably these are mostly old males. By the 
middle of August the newly reared family parties arrive in some numbers, gathering rapidly during 
the next two weeks. Doubtless some of these come from a good distance inland. Now these local 
ducks may depart for spots unknown before the opening of the shooting season, September 15; or 
they may stay on and mingle with migrants which drift down the coast in some numbers about 
September 25 to 28, just as soon as a northwest breeze, followed by snappy weather occurs. The 
flight of what appear to be eastern-bred ducks (as almost no “Red-legs,” Anas ruhripes rubripes, 
appear at that time) is at its height during the first two weeks in October. This early flight consists 
of a large proportion of obviously young birds. It usually breaks off abruptly about the third week 
of October, after which there may be a gap until the first ten days of November. Western-bred (?) 
ducks, presumably coming by way of the Great Lakes, arrive then in large numbers on our salt 
meadows, and establish themselves for the winter. A few of what seem to be eastern-bred ducks. 
Anas ruhripes tristis, continue to straggle along, but New Brunswick points report the main flight 
over by mid-October, as a rule. In Massachusetts, our first-flight birds of September do not have 
many old males among them, and it is certain that the males, as with the Mallard, start later than 
the females and young. Among the very late migrants in December, sportsmen notice a few very 
small specimens. The same phenomenon is seen in the Mallard. 

We now have a great many returns from banded Black Ducks, thanks to the efforts of two or 
three enthusiastic persons. The largest set of records is from ducks banded by Mr. H. S. Osier at 
Lake Scugog, near Port Perry, Ontario (just north of Lake Ontario). Jack Miner of Kingsville, 
Ontario, also banded Black Ducks and Mallards which seem to show similar dispersals. 

The interesting thing about early autumn migrants at Lake Scugog is that they are not bound by 
any means for the same regions. They fall into two great groups, one of which goes down the Ohio 
and the Mississippi Valley to Alabama, Louisiana and Texas, showing up en route at Lake Ontario 
and Erie points, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Arkansas and Tennessee. They spread out westward at 
least as far as Michigan and central Illinois (Woodford County) and central Iowa (Pomeroy) which 
shows, if anything does, that the sportsmen of the Northeast are interested in what happens to water- 
fowl in the Mississippi. These same Lake Scugog birds spread out on the Gulf coast all the way 
from Canada, Texas (Jackson County), to northern Florida at Dalle’s Creek, Taylor County. One 
of them was shot on Anticosti Island in April, probably a breeding bird. But the second group of 
the Lake Scugog ducks takes an entirely different direction as is shown by a great number of returns 
from the Atlantie eoast, Delaware and Maryland, south to Georgia. Although there is one record 
for New Jersey it is significant that most of the flight toward the Atlantic coast strikes well south 
of New England. It is a curious fact that this Atlantic coast group does not seem to be as large as 
the inland or Mississippi Valley group. 

Recently a large number of Black Ducks has been banded at Bar Harbor, Maine, and Spring Run 
Pond, Maine. Most of these were retaken locally but some flew south along the coast as far as New 
Jersey, Maryland and the east shore of Virginia. Out of two hundred of these ducks, banded during 
autumn, thirty-two or 16% were shot in October, November and December of the year they were 

The northwestern group of Black Ducks, from which we presume (although without complete 
evidence) that all extreme types of our Red-legged race come, probably follow a course along the 
Great Lakes to New England, and also across coimtry to' the Gulf of Mexico; but being an almost 
maritime bird, it probably takes the nearest route to the coast. We know that the two birds taken 
at Fort Churchill, west coast of Hudson Bay, were of the Red-legged race. In Michigan there is a 
considerable migration of these ducks from Lake Superior, and they linger until most of the Mallards 
are gone. Occasionally they even winter on the St. Clair Flats. At Long Point, Lake Erie, there are 
great flights of Red-legs late in the autumn, and on the 12th of November, 1916, just before a great 



freeze, I found that three-fourths of these ducks were males, the females having probably gone along 

We obtain other evidence of the western-bred Black Ducks from various specimens shot in Ala- 
bama and Arkansas, North Dakota and other western points, which seem to be mostly of the rubripes 
type. It also seems to me that these “ Red-legs ” go farther south in winter than the eastern “ Green- 
legs,” although of course over the greater part of the winter range both forms mingle together. There 
is a good deal of evidence that the “Red-leg” form has been growing more plentiful in the southern 
States. But we need especially to know whether any typical “ Red-legs” ever reach points like Anti- 
costi and the Magdalen Islands, and whether any typical “ Green-legs ” breed in the Lake Superior 
and James Bay regions. 

Being a hardy species some winter as far north as the St. Lawrence, or at least they leave there 
very late. They have been seen as late as November 14 at Montreal and as late as December 8 at 
Prince Edward Island (Cooke, 1906). They are said to remain occasionally on Anticosti in winter 
(Schmitt, 1904) and many winter in Nova Scotia and Maine, wherever salt-marshes are found. 
Local-bred ducks may be induced to remain imtil frozen out if properly baited; that is, one can delay 
their departure several months. 

The spring flight is very different from that of the Mallard, for the Black Duck swarms up the 
coast, and into all the flooded valleys as soon as the ice breaks. They arrive in central New England 
just as early as weather permits, from early March to April, and they reach Maine about April 7, 
Montreal, April 14, Quebec, April 18 and Prince Edward Island, April 23. Meanwhile those ducks 
that have remained all winter with us on the coast, and are presumably drawn chiefly from the 
Northwest, do not appear to change much in numbers, but break up and depart a long time after 
migrants from the South have scattered all over the country. Of course it must be borne in mind that 
the species is practically confined to the coast in winter. 

Sporadic Records: There have been many sporadic records for Black Ducks in the West, chiefly 
from Wyoming, Colorado and Utah, which are probably to be referred to the New Mexican Duck, 
Anas diazi nonmexicana, or possibly to the Florida Duck, Anas fulvigula. There is one undoubted 
specimen for California, but Dr. Joseph Grinnell informed me that there is a possibility that this 
may have been an escaped bird. At any rate the Black Duck is said to occur occasionally on passage 
in Kansas (Bunker, 1913; H. Harris, 1919), in Nebraska (Swenk, 1905), in Missouri (Widmann, 
1907) and in Iowa (R. M. Anderson, 1907). A number have been shot near Tulsa, Oklahoma, since 
1918 (T. J. Hartman, in litt.). The specimens which I have examined from mid-western States (Indi- 
ana) and from Wisconsin, as well as the one reported by Oberholser (1918) from North Dakota, are 
typical of the Red-legged race. Mr. L. C. Pettibone of Dawson, Kidder Coimty, reported a real 
flight there in 1914. There are also records of Black Ducks from the Valle de Mexico (Villada, 
1891-92) and the west coast (Sanchez, 1877-78). These undoubtedly refer either to the Mexiean 
or to the Florida Duck. 


Haunts. The Dusky or Black Duck is not at all particular about the nature of 
the country it inhabits, but it likes to stay somewhere near the coast, even in the 
breeding season. Throughout New England it is found in summer in much the same 
country as the Carolina Duck, on slow-moving brooks, the marshes of our sluggish 
rivers, and old mill-ponds. Brewster (1884) thought that on the Magdalens, Anti- 
costi and the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, they bred a short distance only 
from the coast. They have great gathering-places in the late summer, such as the 



huge sound at Tabisantack, New Brunswick, and Merrymeeting Bay on the 
Kennebec River in Maine. They seldom attempt to feed on crops, indeed there is 
little grain country within their range, but they do resort to upland pastures in late 
summer to obtain blueberries. 

This is the characteristic duck of our tidal marshes. It feeds all along the narrow 
ditches and drains at low tide, and at high water it drifts about, waiting for the 
tide to fall, or flies inland for fresh water. In winter it seems to be able to get all the 
fresh water it needs from small trickles of brackish water which seep out under the 
banks in tide-creeks. 

Wariness. Without doubt this is the wariest of all the duck tribe. Particularly 
intelligent and alert are those that winter along the thickly settled coast of Mas- 
sachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and the shores of Long Island Sound. 
Here they live in continuous contact with man, yet although formerly shot at, day 
and night, during the whole winter, and even into the spring, they managed to hold 
their own remarkably well. In Plum Island Sound between Ipswich and Rowley, 
Massachusetts, there were, as nearly as I could estimate, about three thousand 
Black Ducks regularly wintering. Twenty years ago there were two market gunners 
left who shot from floats at night, and in the daytime during easterly gales. These 
two men together took perhaps six hundred ducks between them during the whole 
season, and the numbers taken by all other shooters combined were insignificant. 

The local wintering Black Ducks never become at all tame except when the 
marshes accumulate a thick covering of ice and snow, and the exposed mud is 
greatly restricted. Then they have to gather in a few places where the current has 
kept open holes, and being in poor condition they soon lose nearly all of their 
natural acuteness. 

Black Ducks are not naturally wild. The young are extremely tame until shot at. 
I have decoyed them in the marshes of James Bay by simply squatting down in the 
grass, waving my hat in the air and giving a few quacks. If they are really let en- 
tirely alone, they remain extremely tame all summer; but one day’s shooting is 
suflicient to educate them almost completely. I sometimes think that the more guns 
that turn out on the opening day, the better it is for the ducks. 

It is not diflBcult to tame Black Ducks under certain conditions. In a small cement 
pond in Franklin Park, Boston, Mr. Morse, of the Boston Zoological Park, fed about 
seventy-five Black Ducks during the hard winter of 1919-20. These became so 
tame that he could, and did catch a number in his hands without the use of any 
trap. The following winter (1920-21) which was very open and warm, he was not 
able to repeat this performance. 

It is remarkable that the “Red-leg” type (Anas rubripes ruhripes), as seen on our 
New England coast, is very much afraid of live decoys, especially if they quack 



loudly, and the most successful gunners do not use them at all. The same thing is 
seen when a flock of these local w intering ducks comes into a pond w here there is a 
shooting-stand. But the flight ducks of September and October are very tame in 
comparison. I have seen Black Ducks come back to live decoys a second time after 
being shot at. I have also once or twdce seen ducks that would not fly when a gun 
was shot close to them. I once saw' a Black Duck shot by rowdng down upon him wdth 
a boat in the open water of a lake. With these early autumn migrants it is often pos- 
sible to shoot several out of a flock, one after the other, with a 22-caliber rifle, if the 
wind is blowing toward one. Several times wild Black Ducks have follow'ed live 
decoys right up to the door of a shooting-stand, and I have even found ducks inside 
the stand sitting on the decoy coops, w'hen no live decoys were anchored outside. 
O. W. Knight (1908) has known of Black Ducks that so gorged themselves with 
huckleberries in late August that they w'ent to sleep under the bushes near the 
water. One which he found in this condition w'as unable to fly away ! 

Every one who has shot in the sounds of North Carolina and Virginia knows how 
much tamer Black Ducks are there, even where many of them are “Red-legs.” 
Wliy this should be I do not know, except that of course where enormous numbers 
are present, ducks do seem to be less alert. On the other hand, writing of Minnesota, 
Hatch (1892) remarked that a single one in a flock of Mallards proved a sad defeat 
to the sportsman’s purpose. In Michigan late flights of Black Ducks at Sheldrake 
Lake were noted for their wildness (Birdseye, U.S. Biological Survey field notes). 

In Massachusetts, Herring Gulls and even Black-backed Gulls may sometimes 
act as sentinels when Black Ducks are sleeping on a beach, at least so Mackay (Auk, 
vol. 9, p. 223, 1892) thought. 

It is remarkable that noises such as gun-shots do not disturb Black Ducks at night 
at anything like the same distance that they do by day. The birds seem more con- 
fident and rely upon the darkness for protection. 

I have perhaps created an impression by the foregoing that the Black Duck is not 
a particularly wary bird. This is not so. No duck can compete with this species on 
equal terms, except perhaps the Pintail. Mallards, at least as we see them in 
North America, are certainly tamer. 

Daily Movements. This species probably does not differ by nature from the 
Mallard, although it appears to be more nocturnal. The early-flight birds are not 
nocturnal, and those following the coast respond regularly to the rise and fall of 
the tide. In summer and early autumn the species is crepuscular. In wdnter it be- 
comes entirely nocturnal, spending the whole day outside the beaches if the w ind is 
off shore and coming in to the marsh only when the sea becomes too rough ; and it is 
truly remarkable what wind and wave this hardy species can ride out. Under the 
old conditions, that is, when shot at every night, almost no ducks remained in our 



salt-marshes after the first streak of dawn; but now their habits are somewhat modi- 
fied, and when they are not too much harassed in the daytime, some will remain 
on the marsh. 

On fine moonlight nights our wintering New England ducks come in long after 
dark as they have no difficulty in filling their crops, but in cold rough weather 
they start much earlier, even before sunset. The ideal conditions for wintering 
Black Ducks may be seen in our park lakes about Boston, up to the time these 
freeze. Here we see thousands of ducks sitting about on the fresh water all day long 
instead of going to sea, and flighting out to salt-flats and marshes just at dark. 
This would happen everywhere along the coast if ducks were not disturbed. 

Diving, Perching, Swimming. Young birds dive as in all the river ducks; old 
birds almost never, except to escape raptorial birds. I have twice seen single Black 
Ducks dive at the flash of a gun when shot at from a shooting-stand. Of course this is 
very unusual and it may be simply a wrong response to some definite stimulus. Any- 
way it shows that the trick can be done. Occasionally immature ducks may be seen 
splashing about in play in the early autumn and making short clumsy dives, as 
young Mallards do. Where ducks are artificially fed in shallow water I believe they 
can be taught to dive short distances. I have often baited in water over my knees, yet 
this grain was cleaned up almost immediately by a flock of Black Ducks that had 
been “using” this particular place for several months. In watching this flock 
through a glass it was difficult to see just how these dives were made, because there 
were hundreds of birds tipping, playing and splashing about in one confused mass. 

This duck can dive from the wing, but I have never seen this performance. C. S. 
Allen (1893) saw one flying over a marsh, suddenly double up, apparently falling 
over and over, striking the water as if shot, after which it immediately dived. The 
action was in response to a Red-tailed Hawk flying over, but there was no such 
response to Fish Hawks. 

Wounded birds dive cleverly and make straight for the nearest shore, often run- 
ning back a long distance into the woods, where it is almost impossible to find them 
without a dog. 

Black Ducks do not perch. They may roost on low stumps and rocks, and in very 
rare instances they have been found nesting in trees. The swimming posture is 
identical with that of the Mallard. They sleep either with head sunk down upon the 
breast, or with the bill tucked under the scapulars. On land they sometimes squat, 
but more often they stand either on one or on both feet. 

Special Senses. I find I am in good company among those who see no evidence 
of a sense of smell in Black Ducks. I have spoken of the traditions in regard to this 
matter under the Mallard. C. W. Townsend (1905) and Forbush (1912) do not be- 



lieve the species can smell man. However, nearly all old shooters are quite convinced 
that Black Ducks have this power, and Giraud (1844) tells how the gunners of Long 
Island burned tow in order to disguise their presence ! 

Flight. Everything which has been said of the IMallard holds for this species. 
Very large migratory flocks are unusual. As we see them on or near the Atlantic 
coast in early autumn the typical flock is of five or six to a dozen or fifteen, and less 
often thirty or forty. Migratory flocks of sixty or seventy I should call unusual. 
At least, such large flocks do not often stop in our eastern ponds although large 
bodies of birds may gather, the result of many small, probably family parties, tem- 
porarily combined. Audubon thought that it was unusual to see them in flocks as 
large as is customary with the Mallard. 

Mated pairs flying about alone almost always show the female in front. \Mien a 
pair is jumped, the female forges ahead as soon as the birds get well under way. 

Black Ducks are easily recognized on the wing because they are so much darker 
than either the male or female Mallard. They have the same manner of flight as 
Mallards, that is, with a rather short wing-arc, the wings not depressed much below 
the level of the body. When they are mixed in with Florida Ducks they are also 
conspicuous by their darker color, especially about the head and neck. 

Association with other Species. Black Ducks are usually seen by themselves 
while migrating in New England, but sometimes there will be a single Green-winged 
Teal, a Mallard or two, or a Pintail among them. In winter on our Atlantic coast, 
east of New York, this species has almost no other river ducks to mix with. Farther 
south and west they associate very freely with IMallards, and also with Pintails, 
and Teals, less often with Gadwalls, Widgeons and Shovellers. Early in the winter 
Mallards begin to draw away from the Atlantic coast, so that the association on 
common ground does not last long. The association of Black Ducks with Herrings 
and Black-backed Gulls was mentioned under Wariness. 

Voice. Not to be distinguished from the Mallard’s. The windpipe, described 
by Audubon and others, has a tracheal pouch similar to that of the Mallard. 

Food. The food of this species in winter has been carefully studied by McAtee 
(1918). The result of the analysis of 390 stomachs from nineteen States and two 
Canadian Provinces is: animal matter, 24.09%, vegetable, 75.91%. Of the animal 
matter a little over half was made up of mollusks, mostly univalve shells. The com- 
mon blue mussel is very important, and shells of the genus Litorina were frequently 
taken, five species being identified. Twelve hundred shells were removed from the 
stomach of one bird. Crustaceans are next in importance, and under this head come 



barnacles, sand-fleas, water-fleas, sow-bugs, shrimps, crayfishes and crabs. As many 
as thirty small crabs have been found in one stomach. The other animal food con- 
sists of insects, aquatic beetles and bugs, dragonflies, especially in their immature 
stages, crickets, grasshoppers, caddisflies and their larvse, winged flies, and ants. 
Fishes and their eggs are rare, and a few marine worms have been found. 

The vegetable food (75.91%) is very like that of the Mallard, but not so varied. 
Three-fourths is derived from pond-weeds, eel-grass and wild celery. Leaves, stems, 
tubers, winter buds and seeds of pond-weeds are eaten. No fewer than 4000 seeds of 
eel-grass were taken from the gizzard and gullet of one Black Duck. The grasses 
and sedges compose 11% of the diet, and of less importance are the smart-weeds, 
burr-reeds {Sparganium) , water-lilies, coontail, wapatos, pickerel-weed, huckle- 
berries, etc. 

A few stomachs of downy young show that these consume from 40 to 79.25% of 
animal food, much more than adults, and this includes eggs of small fishes, caddis 
larvse, etc. The vegetable food of the young showed no especial peculiarities. 

The crops of two birds shot in winter in Maine contained the red berries of Le- 
pargarea canadensis, a northern shrub not known in Maine (O. W. Knight, 1908). 
Eleven which I shot at Ipswich in September w'ere crammed full of the two small 
species of snails, Melampus lineatus and Litorina rudis, and had nothing else. 
Audubon gives a long list of the diet: newts, young frogs and toads, tadpoles, all 
sorts of insects, acorns, beechnuts, grain, small quadrupeds, earthworms, leeches, 
and shell-fish, — a very complete accoimt. 

In the Magdalens in summer they are said to eat blueberries high up in the hills 
in company with the Hudsonian Ciu'lew (Sanford, Bishop and Van Dyke, 1903), and 
O. W. Knight (1908) recorded similar habits in Maine. I found them feeding on 
blueberries on Martha’s Vineyard Island from mid-August to mid-September, and 
they must have taken them at night; for these particular birds were gathered around 
the edge of a pond all day, their excrement showing absolutely purple in color. Later, 
on November 22, I collected stomachs from the same group of ducks. These were 
analyzed by the staff of the U.S. Biological Survey, and found to contain very 
diverse material, ranging from 100% to 0% vegetable, and from 80% to 0% animal 
matter. One stomach contained three fishes (Fundulus), 35%; remains of fishes, 
40%; 650 seeds of Scirpus sp? (rush), 8%; 31 seeds of Scirpus americanus, 1%; 1 
seed Cladium sp?, trace; and ground-Up vegetable matter, 16%. The others con- 
tained various shell -fish: blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), broken up gastropods 
{Litorina, etc.), with seeds of Cladium, Mariscoides, Potamogeton and Prosespinaca. 

I have seen Black Ducks feeding on acorns in a park near Boston in early April, 
and Dionne (1906), as well as Audubon, mention acorns as an article of diet. 

The typical stomach from our salt-marshes in winter contains no vegetable matter, 
but is one mass of very small shell-fish, mostly gastropods (snails). 



In spite of the great hardiness of Black Ducks and their ability to glean a diet 
from the frozen salt meadows where most ducks could not live at all, they do, during 
very hard winters, often starve in New England, or become mere skeletons, entirely 
unfit for food. Fortunately this does not occur nowadays during the shooting, 
season, which ends in the north on December 31, so that they are no longer persecuted 
when in a helpless condition. 

We now occasionally hear from extremists in the conservation movement, who 
would like to put Bob-whites as well as all weed- and insect-destroyers on the song- 
bird list. They might just as well include the Black Duck among “song-birds,” for 
Eaton (1910), in his Birds of New York, tells of the stomach of a specimen, taken 
while returning from a flooded cornfield at Canandaigua Lake, that contained a 
total of 23,704 weed seeds! Of these 13,240 were pig-weeds, 7264 knot-grass, 2824 
ragweed, and 576 dock seeds! 

Courtship and Nesting. Black Ducks are not all paired in our parks about 
Boston until April. Of course birds at rest drift around in pairs by November and 
December, but as late as March 20 I have found considerable bodies of birds with a 
large excess of males, and apparently not more than half of them with mates. At 
such times one can see the courtship at its best, and it is very remarkable that its re- 
semblance to, if not identity with the Mallard’s, has seldom been noticed. In a group 
of twelve males and one female which I watched closely on March 20, 1920, at 
Chestnut Hill Reservoir, the actions were as follows: these males, who appeared to 
be in active competition, would run about on the ice, chasing and pecking at each 
other with their bills. Then they, including the lone female, would run to the open 
water where they would all “mill” about in a confused and excited mass, single 
drakes making short flights and chasing each other around in circles. These short dis- 
play-flights were well described by C. W. Townsend (1916) and indeed this is the 
most conspicuous part of the performance, possibly connected with exposure of the 
white under-wing surfaces. A bobbing of the head, as in the Mallard, is also seen. 
But if one watches closely he will see the uprearing of the body and the down thrust 
of the bill just exactly as in the Mallard. 

While these mating antics are going on I have heard the clear whistle-like note from 
the males, just like the Mallard’s whistle and entirely different from anything I ever 
heard at other times of the year. Sometimes on a quiet morning in February or 
March this whistle can be heard several hundred yards away. But it is a fact that 
the display of the Black Duck is not so easy to see as it is in the Mallard, perhaps 
because this is a much more retiring species. I have seen pinioned birds mate with 
no particular ceremony beyond active bowing movements. 

The nesting season varies from late April to mid- June, according to the season and 
the latitude. At Anticosti young have been found as early as July 3 (Verrill, 1862), 



while Audubon found females still incubating in southern Labrador on June 17. By 
July 17 nearly all females had broods. In the Magdalens, eggs are deposited from 
late May to early June (Maynard, 1882), and in Minnesota from May 15 to 27 
(Hatch, 1892). In eastern Massachusetts the average time of laying is early May. 
Extraordinarily early nestings were recorded by Game Warden P. K. Hilliard in 
New Jersey during the unusual spring of 1921. In a letter to Dr. T. S. Palmer of the 
U.S. Biological Survey, this warden described four nests with eggs along the west 
side of Upper Barnegat Bay on March 2! That same spring I saw a brood of ten 
young several days old near Plymouth, Massachusetts, on April 25, but this was 
wholly exceptional. There are, however, a good many early April nesting dates for 
southern New England, Long Island and New Jersey. 

The nest is placed in a great variety of situations, nearly always on the ground, and 
near water, well hidden, and by no means easy to find, as the species becomes ex- 
tremely secretive just as soon as the nest is built. Some unusual situations have been 
noted. One was recorded in the cavity of a leaning birch thirty feet above ground 
(Boardman, fide G. B. Grinnell, 1900), another on an island in the St. Lawrence 
River in an old Crow’s nest situated forty -five feet above ground. Down was added 
to the original nest (Beaupre, 1906). The same writer found another Black Duck 
occupying the nest of a Red-shouldered Hawk in a bass-wood tree fifty feet high. 

In Labrador they are said to nest chiefly on the out-reaching branches of stunted 
spruce trees, which are seldom higher than four feet, at least near the coast (Frazar, 
1887; Davie, 1898). Samuels (1870) described one on a stump that overhung a 
small spring, a mile from any water, on the side of a hill. 

Brewster (1884) found this duck nesting commonly in the immediate vicinity 
of the sea in the St. Lawrence region, and this is no doubt characteristic of all 
northern regions. The numbers that nest in the interior of Labrador are probably 
negligible. Even in the highlands of Maine and in the Adirondacks one could 
hardly call the Black Duck an abundant nester, and it is very greatly outnumbered 
in these regions by American Goosanders and Golden-eyes. 

The clutch is like that of the Mallard in number and the eggs of the two species 
are indistinguishable as regards both size and color. The incubation period is from 
twenty-six to twenty-eight days. 

Their early love for salt water is well shown by observations in Anticosti, where 
young only three or four days old were seen at sea (Brewster, 1884). Males stay 
near the females at least until incubation has started, in some cases until it is well 
under way, but we need definite data on this point. The male then retires to moult, 
and becomes absolutely invisible. It is only very rarely that one runs across a male 
when incapable of flight, although the females and young are much in evidence soon 
after the latter are hatched. Audubon found males moulting in Labrador July 4. 
He noticed that sterile females moulted much earlier than those with broods. 



Young leave the nest very soon after hatching, in one case in the late afternoon 
when they were hatched in the morning (C. S. Allen, 1893). The female uses all the 
usual deceptions and tricks to lead one away from her concealed brood. It is not 
known just how long the female usually remains with the young flock but probably 
on an average she does not leave until they are half grown. Whether she rejoins her 
own brood later on, after her moult is completed, it is impossible to say. The late 
William Brewster seemed to think that this was probably the case. In his notes on 
the birds of Umbagog Lake he says that he has seen young no larger than robins 
going about alone. 

Status. There is no doubt in my mind about a marked increase in Black Ducks 
since spring shooting was stopped in Massachusetts in 1908. The same is true of the 
species everywhere, and the Federal Migratory Bird Law, plus the treaty with 
Canada, has regulated the seasons both in the United States and in Canada. Be- 
sides this, all the large markets have been virtually closed. I could cite evidence on 
this increase by the page, but it is not necessary, and the facts are too w'ell known to 
all New England sportsmen. 

Up to about 1910, the local breeding ducks seemed everywhere to be growing 
less, and so also were the assemblies of birds upon the coast in August and Septem- 
ber. And this was not all; for the early autumn flights of “ Green-legs ” w ere getting 
smaller and smaller. On the other hand the “Red-leg” type, the wintering ducks 
in New England, showed no change in numbers, and there is a good deal of evidence 
to show that the Red-leg form has been increasing and extending its w inter range 
southward for tw’enty or thirty years at least; it may even be extending its breeding 
range west and north. 

Brew ster’s Cambridge records showed that the Black Duck had not changed much 
in the past seventy-five years, that is, it had been a rare breeder for a long time. 
Wintle (1896) thought that it w'as likely soon to be a rara avis in eastern Canada. 

Herrick (1910) w rites that among the records of a club at Monroe, Michigan, at 
the w’est end of Lake Erie, the proportion of Black Ducks to Mallards has risen be- 
tw'een 1885 and 1908 from about 14% to about 40%, a remarkable change. Before 
1865 it was an uncommon bird there. At the north shore of Lake Erie, on the Long 
Point Marshes, nothing of the sort has happened, as it has always been very com- 
mon there. 

Mr. W. B. Mershon, a w^ell-knowm authority on the birds of Michigan, writes me 
from Saginaw, that fifty years ago on the Saginaw River, then a paradise for ducks, 
his father considered the Black Duck a very rare bird and noted the fact if he shot 
two or three during the season, among many hundreds of Mallards. His informants 
tell him that on the Illinois River there were no Black Ducks forty years ago, and 
none in Wisconsin or Minnesota. He thinks the range is gradually extending w'est- 



ward. At a small club, the Tobico Club, twenty-four miles from Saginaw and eight 
miles below Bay City on the west shore of Saginaw Bay, the records for 1913 to 
1920 show that Black Ducks have risen from about equal numbers with the Mallard, 
to twice or three times as many. Shooting clubs along the Illinois River have noted 
a recent increase. 

Forbush (1912) summed up what his field observers thought about this duck in 
Massachusetts in 1908. Forty observers reported an increase of the migrants and 
126 a decrease (we do not know to what race this applies). Of the breeding birds 27 
reported an increase and 83 a decrease. 

Twenty-five and thirty years ago the Topsfield meadows of Essex County, Mas- 
sachusetts, supported many breeding Carolina Ducks, but only a rare pair or two 
of Black Ducks. Now upon that same ground in wet seasons there are probably 
300 ducks reared each smnmer. 

An idea of numbers shot at certain points is always of interest in estimating the 
numbers of a species. This is best arrived at by consulting the books of the shooting 
clubs that have kept records over a long term of years. At Long Point, Lake Erie, 
Black Duck now represent 92% of the combined bag of Black Ducks and Mallard. 
They used to make up only 71%, but the Mallards have decreased. The number of 
Black Ducks shot in the open season (which lasts only about six weeks) runs as high 
as 3674, and in eleven different years between 1887 and 1903 over 2000 were killed 
each season. In eastern Massachusetts there are perhaps fifty shooting-stands 
which are “gunned” regularly for about two months of the season, besides numer- 
ous temporary “blinds.” Placing 100 Black Ducks as an average for each stand 
(the numbers run from 20 or 30 up to about 300) we get a figure of 5000. Add to 
this the numbers shot by individuals in the salt meadows, and in brooks, pond- 
holes, and fresh meadows all over the State and we can count on at least 10,000 in 
this small area. 

At the Swan Island Club, North Carolina, the average number of Black Ducks 
killed each year from 1909 to 1916 is about 700; of Mallards 114. At the Currituck 
Club, twenty miles farther south, the average number for twenty-two years was 
1158 Blacks and 547 Mallards (see Phillips, 1912). 

Farther south, near Georgetown, South Carolina, Black Ducks are less in propor- 
tion to Mallards, perhaps only about 25%, but enormous numbers are shot there. 
A good many are taken at the Canaveral Club, near Titusville, Florida. The records 
of shooting-clubs are now of less interest since a bag limit of 25 ducks was established 
in 1918; that is, relative numbers mean less because many sportsmen will not shoot 
“common ducks” if they can get others. Taking our whole coast from Maine to 
Georgia, it would seem as if at least 200,000 Black Ducks were shot there yearly. 

Audubon was told by his friend Bachman that this duck was becoming a much more 
common species in South Carolina in the early part of the last century, and this is 



again very interesting in connection with the recent extension of range westward. 
Taking everything into consideration it is probable that no other species could have 
withstood successfully such constant persecution. No doubt this w-as only possible 
through the comparative wildness of all the northern and eastern sections of its 
breeding grounds. The Mallard has suffered a great deal more, comparatively speak- 
ing, although of course its actual numbers are much greater. 

We gain a very accurate idea of the amount of artificial mortality which takes 
place during the shooting season from the return of banded ducks. This information 
may in time be of great value in setting aside sanctuaries and defining open seasons. 
For instance about 16% of those Black Ducks banded in Hancock County, Maine, are 
shot the same season. This is not as great a loss as is sustained by Mallards in the 
upper Mississippi Valley (Brownsville, Illinois). Those Black Ducks which were 
banded at Lake Scugog, Ontario, have always shown a lesser mortality, about 
11%. These percentages refer to the first year, mostly the first few months after 
banding, for if a duck makes one journey to the south and back safely he seems well 
able to look after himself. In other wmrds the per cent of returns after one year is 
remarkably small, for the shooter kills mostly young birds. 

Food Value. This species is so dear to the heart of our eastern shooters that it is 
often put near the top of the list of ducks. I have eaten many w'hich could not be 
improved upon. As a rule the young flight-ducks which reach Massachusetts late in 
September and early October are tender but not fat, and their flesh is lacking in 
“ gamey ” qualities. Most of them are still moulting. Later on they improve and the 
large November “Red-legs” are excellent. In places where ducks are regularly 
baited, and given a ehance to rest in a protected pond, they put on a layer of fat and 
become very fine for the table. Black Ducks which feed on minute shell-fish in 
winter are often in good condition, but of stronger flavor, too strong for some 
palates, but just right for others. In the brackish sounds of North Carolina and in 
the abandoned rice-fields of South Carolina the flesh becomes even more delicious. 
The better condition and flavor of the late ducks which come from the West is no 
doubt due to their migrating by way of extensive rice-fields in the region of the 
Great Lakes. Those which come down our coast do not find any feeding conditions 
as rich as these. 

The price per pair was from $1.00 to $1.50 in the eastern markets in Audubon’s 
time. It was from $1.50 to $1.75 at the time our Boston market was closed, the local 
shooters receiving as their share from $1.00 to $1.25. 

Enemies. Besides man and his weapons, we must now reckon the pollution of 
harbors and inlets by floating oil. This threatens to be serious in the near future. 
Many geese shot in Massachusetts in 1920 were covered with a black tar-like oil 



which seems to be a residue thrown out from oil-burning ships. The bursting of oil 
tanks is said to have killed many ducks in a Rhode Island harbor. Wrecked oil- 
tankers have killed sea-birds of all kinds. 

Fortunately the Black Duck is wary enough to escape most of his enemies. It 
would be interesting to know whether the great reduction in fur-bearing animals, 
mink, weasels, and the cat tribe, has made nesting easier for our ducks. Snapping 
turtles are destructive to young Black Ducks, and probably large pike account for a 
few. Audubon mentions gulls as enemies to the young in southern Labrador. 

During certain winters eruptions of Snowy Owls occur in New England, and these 
birds are doubtless destructive to ducks on our salt-marshes. One taken at Block 
Island in November had the feathers of a Black Duck in its stomach (Deane, Auk, 
vol. 23, p. 290, 1906). 

The Duck Hawk is too rare a bird in the east to be of much importance. The 
Goshawk probably takes a few. One was shot in the act of carrying off a live decoy 
in the Topsfield marshes in November (C. W. Townsend, 1920). 

Hunt. Black Ducks are shot in many different ways on our east coast. When they 
are plentiful enough they may be shot over wooden decoys in rough or cold weather, 
but they soon learn to avoid such crude deception. If the decoys are made of rough 
cork, or even of seaweed bunches, or canvas sacks, they will work better, because they 
do not shine. More effective, and almost indispensable in many places, are live call- 
ducks. These are used either at temporary stands or at permanent camps on the 
shores of ponds where a “ team ” of them is kept in front of the blind, day and night, 
during the whole season until the pond freezes. Many of these camps are now elabo- 
rate affairs. Permanent blinds are now also used on the salt-marshes, grassed over 
to resemble a haystack, with shallow ponds dug out of the marsh sod, surrounding 
them. Before night-shooting was prohibited by Federal law in 1913 most of the 
ducks on the salt -meadows were shot by “dusking”; that is, lying in wait on points 
of marsh, or at the mouths of creeks as the ducks flew in from the ocean. This was 
particularly effective in the dead of winter, when much of the feeding ground was 
covered with ice and snow, but it was desperately cold work. Hogsheads sunk in the 
marsh were sometimes used, and bunches of seaweed heaped up on the mud or in 
shallow drains served as decoys. On moonlight nights the shooter often stayed out 
until eight or nine o’clock, but large bags were seldom obtained. Giraud (1844) in 
his Birds of Long Island speaks of two men shooting ninety -nine in a single night at 
South Oyster Bay many years ago. Ten or fifteen was considered a large bag on 
Cape Cod in recent years. 

In Essex County, Massachusetts, a peculiar coffin-shaped float was used, trimmed 
with grass in the autumn, but painted white in winter. In Forest and Stream many 
years ago I described a night hunt in one of these boats. This method required great 



skill and an intimate knowledge of tides and winds, and was mostly used by pro- 
fessionals. During northeast storms, many were taken from these floats on the 
marsh in the daytime. Floats are also used in other regions. In Merrymeeting 
Bay, in Maine, the shooter anchors a fleet of decoys both live and wooden, and then 
hides in his float in a nearby rice-bed. When a flock alights among his decoy ducks, 
he sculls down wind upon them and shoots them as best he can. 

Audubon mentions the gunners near Boston using live decoys and shooting from 
hidden boats in his day. On Nantucket we are told that shooters used to put out a 
live decoy gull with their live ducks, to make the wild ducks “tamer. ” On the coast 
of Virginia many used to be taken with nets at night, but this practice has now been 
stopped. All along the southern coast the species is much tamer, and comes more 
readily to wooden decoys. 

Baiting is practised now in a great many places, particularly on Martha’s Vine- 
yard, on Long Island and on the big club properties of North and South Carolina. 
This is of course a very effective method of attracting ducks, but it makes the shoot- 
ing rather too easy at times. 

Here and there it is possible to shoot Black Ducks from batteries, — cofRn- 
shaped boxes, sunk with weights to the level of the water, — but as a rule Black 
Ducks fly high enough to see the battery before they come to it. 

Of course there are other ways of getting a few Black Ducks. I have shot many by 
crawling to them in small ponds or walking them up in a marsh. The latter method 
is not usually successful unless there is a hea\^ wind blowing to keep them from 
hearing you, and you lose many unless you have a good dog. There is really no 
more sportsmanlike method than stalking, and one has to use every precaution to 
get within shot of Black Ducks, especially if crawling through woods or brush. A 
windy day gives one the best chance. 

The “ Red-legs ” that winter in New England seem to have learned all about live 
decoys, and approach them either not at all, or with the utmost caution and reserve. 
I have lost many shots at these “winter” ducks by having an energetic call-duck let 
out a high-pitched quack at the wrong moment. 

It appears that in early Colonial days some pipe decoys after the style of the 
Dutch and English ones must have been attempted here in Massachusetts, for I ran 
across an old reference to a permission granted a resident of Salem in 1638. As I 
never before heard of “duck-coys” in New England, this paragraph from a book on 
Salem witchcraft (by Charles W. Upham, Boston, 1867, p. 41) is worth quoting. It 
says, “At a general court held at Boston, September 6, 1638, it was voted that 
‘whereas Emanuel Downing Esq hath brought over, at his great charges, all things 
fitting for taking wild fowl by way of duck-coy, this court, being desirous to en- 
courage him and others in such designs as tend to the public good, . . .’ orders that 
liberty shall be given him to set up his duck-coy within the limits of Salem ; and all 



persons are forbidden to molest him in his experiments by ‘shooting any gun 
within half a mile of the ponds’ where by the regulations of the town he shall be 
allowed to place the decoys.” The Court afterward granted to other towns liberty 
to set up duck-coys but it is doubtful whether these prospered for long as they 
savored too much of special privilege. 

Behavior in Captivity. In spite of a general impression to the contrary, Black 
Ducks are not at all easy to rear in confinement. They are as different as possible 
from Mallards in this respect. One hears frequently of well-established strains of 
Black Ducks, all but domesticated. When investigated these are often found to be 
Black Ducks with Mallard blood, or various sorts of “puddle” ducks of the Black 
“East India” type. When I was in Holland I asked Mr. F. E. Blaauw what luck 
he had had with our Black Ducks and he told me that he had reared them, but 
considered them a difficult bird to breed, which bore out my own experience. 

Ducklings reared from crosses with Mallards are shy, and more difficult to rear 
than pure wild Mallards, and the three-fourths Black Duck is still shyer. Black 
Ducks kept in my ponds have never laid eggs. 

The species was first brought to Europe in 1850 (London Zoological Gardens) 
and bred there until 1867. The maximum age in captivity seems to be about twelve 
years (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). They are bred at times in this country, but rarely in 
small enclosures. They can usually be purchased for about $5.00 or $6.00 a pair, 
but they are not exhibited in large numbers, because they lack the ornamental 
coloring of most ducks. 

Hybrids. Wild-killed hybrids with the Mallard are so numerous as hardly to 
require special mention. It seems to me that most of these are the result of mixtures 
between wild male Black Ducks and domestic or semi-domestic Mallards. These 
specimens are of course mostly males because the females are rarely noticed, differ- 
ing as they do so very little from either the Mallard or the Black Duck female. I 
saw a female specimen recently in the collection of Mr. Charles R. Lamb of Cam- 

In captivity the Black Duck has been crossed with the African Yellow-bill {Anas 
undulata), the Pintail (Dafila acuta) and the Common Pochard {Nyroca Jenna) 
(Poll, 1911). 





Anas obscura rubripes Brewster, Auk, vol. 19, p. 183, 1902; Swenk, Auk, vol. 22, p. 319, 1905; 
Townsend, Mem. Nuttall Ornith. Club, no. 3, p. 126, 1905; Townsend, Auk, vol. 29, p. 176, 
1912; Auk, vol. 33, p. 9, 1916; Oberholser, Auk, vol. 34, p. 192, 1917; Auk, vol. 35, pp. 
203, 350, 1918; Phillips, Auk, vol. 37, p. 289, 1920. 

Anas rubripes Dwight, Auk, vol. 26, p. 422, 1909; Phillips, Auk, vol. 28, p. 191, 1911. 

Subspecific Chabacters; Size larger or at least having heavier appearance, with the head grayer. 
Plumage denser. Feathers of pileum usually more edged with grayish or tawny color; throat more 
spotted or streaked with blackish or very dark brown, the dark markings on the sides of the head 
larger, more sharply defined and blacker; bill bright yellow, tarsi and toes bright red or coral red, 
the colors of soft parts brighter in the male. 

Range: Breeds from south end of Lake Winnipeg and James Bay, to {lerhaps as far north as Fort 
Churchill (?); south to southern James Bay and Lake Superior, and eastward for an undetermined 
distance. In winter south to Arkansas, southern Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, and southeastward 
through the Great Lakes and New England to the whole Atlantic coast as far as northern Florida. 

N<Ae: The long controversy as to the validity of this race now seems to be over, but much more 
material is necessary to establish the eastern breeding limits of this form. It must also be borne in 
mind that intermediates are very numerous, possibly more numerous than typical examples of both 
races. It is very probable that extremes are found breeding west of James and Hudson Bay only. 
A specimen from Ungava Bay which I examined is not a typical “Red-leg.” The description is diffi- 
cult, but the general appearance of a typical bird of this race, freshly killed, is unmistakable. Fe- 
males and young are not so easy to distinguish. The question of distinguishing these two races is 
much complicated by the differential sex migrations, the old males coming south later in both 
forms, thus giving the impression that all old males belong to the Red-legged race. Out of 224 
shot at Martha’s Vineyard from September to December, 1919, not one single typical rubripes 
was found, for these were from a group of local ducks of the tristis race held over from migrating 
by consistent baiting. The location was away from salt-marshes and out of the winter range of 
Anas rubripes rubripes (Phillips, 1920a). 

This “Red-legged” race outnumbers the eastern one, and appears to be on the increase, extending 
its range westward. It migrates later, is shyer, hardier, more localized about salt-marshes in winter, 
and more nocturnal. 


Anas obscura of authors. 

Anas rubripes tristis Brewster, Auk, vol. 26, p. 176, 1909; Oberholser, Auk, vol. 34, p. 194, 1917. 

SuBSPECiFic Characters: Size slightly smaller. Plumage not so thick and long; feathers of pileum 
not conspicuously edged with lighter shades; chin and throat with very few dark markings, or none 
at all; dark markings on face and neck smaller, narrower and not so black. Bill olive to greenish 
black, sometimes more or less of an orange tinge, but never bright, clear yellow'; legs and toes dusky 



brown to yellowish or pale orange. Colors of soft parts much brighter in the male. The female always 
has a dark irregular band on the bill about the nostrils in both forms. 

Geogh.\phic Distribution: Breeding from Hyde and Dare Counties, North Carolina, sparingly 
along coast of Virginia and Maryland up the whole eastern coast, as far as eastern Labrador. Western 
and northern breeding limit not determined, but probably to Lake Erie. Winters from Nova Scotia 
south along entire Atlantie coast to northern Florida and the Gulf Coast, but in this latter region 
not so common as Anas ruhripes rubripes. It is possible that typical examples are confined to a 
breeding area extending along the coast and inland for only 150 to 200 miles. 

Note: This race probably intergrades with the “Red-legged” form all over the central part of the 
range of the Black Duck, and also in Ungava. Typically, it is a race of the Atlantic coast. Its migra- 
tion is early, but some remain along the New England coast all winter, where they are outnumbered 
by individuals of the “Red-legged” race, and by others not easily classified. 


(Plate 24) 


Anas poedlarhyncha Forster in Pennant’s Indian Zoology, p. 23, pi. 13, fig. 1, 1781. 
Anas poekilorhyncha Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 535, 

Mareca poecilorkyncha Stephens, General Zool., vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 134, 1824. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Spot-billed Duck, Spotted-billed Duck, Gray Duck, Indian Spot-bill. 
French: Canard a bee tachete. Canard a bee de lait. 

German: Fleckschnabel Ente, Buntschnabel Ente. 

Hindu: Garam-pai, Bata, Gugral. 

Sind: Hunjar. 

Nepal: Naddun. 

Manipur: Kara. 

Burmese: Vume-be, Tau-bay. 


Adult Male : Top of the head and a broad orbital stripe dark brown. A narrow superciliary stripe, 
sides of the head, chin, throat, and neck, cream-color to pale buff, minutely streaked on the cheeks 
with blackish. Mantle grayish brown, each feather margined with lighter tints. Scapulars dark 
brown. Back, rump and upper tail-coverts black, becoming iridescent near the tail. Breast and 
upper abdomen white, boldly marked with round dark-brown spots. Lower abdomen merging into 
dark brown and black, with the under tail-coverts brown-black. Wing with a typical speculum, 
iridescent green in color and bounded both in front and behind with a black, and next to it a white 
bar. Upper wing-coverts dark gray. Tertials, at least two of them, white on the outer web; primaries 
brown; under wing-coverts and axillars white. Central tail-feathers pointed and black, outer ones 
brown with light edges. 

Iris reddish brown. Bill black with a bright yellow tip; nail black. An area at base of culmen red. 
Legs and feet deep orange-color. 

W'ing 248-269 mm ; bill 52-55; tarsus 46-48. 

Female: Similar to the male but a little smaller. Color of soft parts, same or nearly so. 

Immature: Lack the red patch at base of upper mandible and are much less spotted on the under 

Plate 24 

L V'w. 




* ii, 

„ f. t 


4 ■»•- 

»■ f 

. » , 

■'r ^ 


jfj 'i ■' 


H: ■ 

'■”’, '»-■ ■'W- 

’■• > . , .-» ■ 

• \. « 

f > ^1 ■ T *, ’< .»» 

) . 

<r= . 



Young in Down: From the few specimens which I have examined it appears impossible to tell these 
from the young of the Mallard. 


The Spot-billed Duck, a species only locally migratory, is confined to the Indian Peninsula, and to 
some parts of Indo-China. It is known from almost all sections of India south of the Himalayas and 
appears to be more abundant in the north and west than in the south or east. In the west it is com- 
mon and breeds in Sind and Guzerat (Hume and Marshall, 1879). It is fairly common in northern 
Guzerat and probably breeds there (E. A. Butler, 1876). According to Hume and Marshall (1879) 
it is common on the Indus, the Jhelum and the Chenab Rivers, but it is not known to have ever 
occurred in Baluchistan or Afghanistan. It is found in the Punjab, excepting in the extreme north- 
western sections, but has never been found in Kashmir, Kumaon, or any but the southernmost parts 
of Nepal (Hume and Marshall, 1879; I\Tiistler, 1922). Southward through central India, however, 
it is everywhere well known. It is resident in Lucknow (Jesse, 1903), in the Northwest Provinces 
and Oudh as well as in eastern Rajputana (Hume and Marshall, 1879), but though common in central 
India it grows rarer toward the south (Baker, 1908). Legge (1880), however, states that it is abun- 
dant in the Deccan and probably breeds there. It has never been recorded from southern Konkan 
(Hume and Marshall, 1879; Baker, 1908) and though it breeds in Mysore, Hume and Marshall 
(1879) think it must be rare along the entire southwest coast. In Ceylon it is not a v^ery eommon 
bird, occurring chiefly on the north and east coasts (Legge, 1880; Baker, 1908; Wait, 1917), and there 
is some reason to suppose that it is only a winter resident on the island. 

In the east the present species is said to be rare in Chota Nagpur (Legge, 1880), and, though it is 
common in Bengal, where it breeds (Baker, 1908, etc.), it appears to be quite exceptional on the 
lower Ganges and in the Calcutta region (Hume and Alarshall, 1879; Baker, 1908). It is, however, 
abundant in Sylhet, Cachar and in Manipur, where it breeds; and has been met with at altitudes up 
to 3000 or even 4000 feet (Baker, 1908). Farther north it is not so common on the Brahmaputra, 
though it is known from western Assam. Southward it is found in eastern Bengal, Chittagong and 
possibly in northern Arakan (Hume and Marshall, 1879; Baker, 1908). Specimens found east of 
Manipur, and in general east of 94° east longitude, have been ascribed to the subspecies Anas pascilo- 
rhyncha haringtoni. According to E. W. Oates (1907) this subspecies is confined to the valley of the 
Irrawaddy and the Shan States, but Baker (1914) goes much further and, regarding the subspecies 
as a link between Anas poecilorhyncha and Anas zonorhyncha of China, apparently includes some 
records of the Chinese species as properly referring to Anas pascilorhyncha haringtoni. He gives the 
range of the new subspecies as the whole of Burma, including the Shan States and Chin Hills, Yun- 
nan, Cochin (!) China, and possibly southwestern China, adjoining Burma. Much of this is not 
wholly clear and the evidence necessary for proof is not given. Baker (1914) furthermore states that 
the subspecies is found in Assam to the extreme east, rather rarely in Sibsagar and more commonly 
in Teypur and Lakimpur. Furthermore the older records for the Burmese countries must now be 
applied to Harington’s Duck. Blyth (1875) had recorded it for Assam and the Irrawaddy south to 
Mandalay. Hume and Marshall (1879) state that the species is not rare in Upper Burma, and E. W. 
Oates (1883) makes the same remark. Specimens have been recorded from Bhamo (Salvadori, 1887) 
and J. Anderson (1878) found it not uncommon in Upper Burma, at Bhamo and at Tamilone on the 
Taipeng River. It has been recorded from the Shan States (Blyth, 1875; E. W. Oates, 1883) and was 
found common in the South Shan States (Bingham and Thompson, 1900) at Fort Stedman and east 
to Mongnai (Rippon, 1901). The Gray Ducks seen by Barton (1914) and by Gyldenstolpe (1916) 
on the Meping Ri%’er (northwestern Siam) and recorded as Anas poecilorhyncha, no doubt also belong 
to this subspecies. 

The southern limit seems to be about 20° north latitude in Burma and there is no evidence to 



support Blyth’s (1875) statement that it oceurs in Tenasserim. The specimen seen by E. H. Wilson 
(1913) at Kiating, western China, was probably though not necessarily Anas zonorhyncha. The 
northeastern dividing line between ^4nas pcecilorhyncha haringtoni and Anas zonorhyncha is still very 
uncertain. Finn gives a record of twenty-four specimens of Anas zonorhyncha shot in one year at 
Kengtung, eastern South Shan States and says its breeding there is proved. It is most likely a case of 
Anas pcecilorhyncha haringtoni also, for the true Chinese species breeds in northeastern Asia. Many 
“hybrids” are recorded from the Shan States and eastern Burma and these too are no doubt to be 
regarded as specimens of the subspecies. 


Haunts. This fine Mallard-like species, confined to India and the Malay countries, 
is strictly non-migratory in the proper sense of the word, although like all tropical 
ducks it wanders about locally, governed by the distribution of the rains. The 
exhaustive works of Hume and Marshall (1879) and Baker (1908) contain nearly 
all that is known of its life-history. They agree in saying that the haunts vary, but 
that the bird prefers tanks, jheels (small pieces of water well covered with weeds), 
and more rarely small quickly flowing streams in the forest. On the other hand these 
ducks resort much less frequently to large open waters or to the bigger rivers like the 
Ganges, Jumna and Brahmaputra. Hume and Marshall (1879) say that they are 
quite common on the Jhelum, Chenab and Indus. This is strictly a fresh-water 
duck and is almost absent from the Sunderbunds and other brackish or tidal waters. 
In the interior it is confined to the low-lying regions, but in Manipur and in the 
Tankul Hills it has been taken at elevations of 3000 feet and in the Darjiling Terai 
up to 4000 feet (Baker, 1908). 

Wariness. The Spot-bill is not a particularly wary duck, and until it has been 
much shot at, it can generally be approached near enough for a shot without much 
trouble. Baker (1908) describes them as sleeping on the margins of smaller ponds, 
with one or two left on sentry duty near the edge. 

Daily Movements. There is nothing characteristic of the daily habits. They 
feed in the rice-fields and elsewhere by night, and during the day sleep far out on the 
open water. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Flight. On water and on land their carriage is exactly 
like that of the Mallard, although Hume and Marshall (1879) regard them as swim- 
ming and diving “more briskly” than the Mallard. Of course the birds dive only 
when immature, or when wounded, but when winged they are said to give more 
trouble than any other duck, since they dive very freely and (according to Hume 
and Marshall, and Baker) sometimes grasp the weeds under water and drown! 
More often they dive very cleverly, and show only the bill above water. If 



winged so as to make diving painful and impossible, they make for the nearest 

Due no doubt to their shorter wings and their non-migratory habits, they rise 
less easily than the Mallard. But once on the wing they fly as fast as the common 
northern ducks. Hume and Marshall (1879) compare their rather heavy “get- 
away” to that of an old hen. During the rains, just before the nesting season, they 
travel about in pairs, and even in the cold season, when they gather on larger sheets 
of water, they are found scattered about in small family parties. Hume and Marshall 
(1879) say they have never seen parties of more than a dozen, but quote Reid as 
having seen as many as thirty in a flock, and Mclnroy who claims to have “fre- 
quently seen at least a hundred of these ducks sitting together on the shores of 
various tanks in the Mysore Province”; the latter adds that they kept together 
when on the wing. 

Association with othee Species. Hume and Marshall (1879) foimd the Spot- 
bill an unsociable bird, mingling rarely with other species. At most it may be found 
in company with Teal or Shoveller. Woods (in Baker, 1908) think she has often 
seen solitary Spot-bills piloting a flock of Teal across a jheel. 

Voice. In the only pair which I myself kept I never remarked anything peculiar 
about the note. Most writers agree in saying that the voice is exactly like that of 
the Mallard. Hume and Marshall (1879) alone consider the notes somewhat more 
sharp, not so sonorous, but apparently emitted with greater force than in the Mallard. 
Of course slight differences in voice between two different species of Mallard-like 
ducks are extremely difficult to estimate, because Mallards themselves show a great 
range of individual variation in this respect. This variation I think is dependent 
somewhat on age, for the younger birds sound a bit shriller. 

Food. The Spot-bills are omnivorous feeders, most likely preferring animal food 
when they can obtain it readily, but also taking much vegetable matter and doing 
much damage to the rice, both when it is young and when in the ear. Baker (1908) 
thinks they are principally vegetable feeders, but Hume and Marshall (1879) 
mention as animal food, worms, small frogs, and insects and their larvae. Three 
stomachs examined by Mason and Lefroy (1912) all contained some animal food, 
chiefly water-snails {Vivipara crassa) and in one case a small frog. 

Courtship and Nesting. As with most tropical ducks, the breeding season is 
very variable, extending, in India, from April to October. In the Northwest it breeds 
from the middle of July to the middle of September. In Sind it is said to lay in April 
and May and again in September and October, but it is more than doubtful whether 



the same birds ever lay twice in one year. In Mysore, November and December are 
the months given by Hume and Marshall (1879). Baker (1908) gives the months of 
July and August as the principal breeding period in Bengal, though some nest 
earlier. In Mymensingh and Sylhet he has seen adults with young in April, while 
eggs have been taken in August. Old birds have been found in Manipur paired in 
April but nests have been found as late as October. In one place in Manipur 
eighteen miles from Imphal, flappers were found in every stage of development 
toward the end of the rains. 

Nothing is known of the courtship, except for a note by Heinroth (1911) who 
says their display closely resembles that of the Mallard. It would be extremely 
interesting if an accurate comparison of the display in the two species could be 

The nest is of the usual duck type: a compact structure of grasses, rushes and 
weeds, and almost always lined with down. It is almost invariably placed on the 
ground near the water. Hume, however, found a nest in a tree on a horizontal 
“trifurcation” of a bough, and nine inches above the water. Ridges between rice- 
fields seem to be favorite nesting places (Baker, 1908). 

The normal clutch is about the same as that of the Mallard, that is eight to ten 
and often fewer. The maximum recorded seems to be fourteen (Woods in Baker, 
1908). The eggs are of a short elliptical form, devoid of gloss, or only slightly glossy, 
and white or grayish white in color. They measure 52.5-58.5 by 42-45.5 mm. (E. 
W. Oates, 1902), and are about the same length as those of the Mallard, but slightly 
wider. The incubation period, according to Heinroth (1908), is about twenty- 
nine days, but it is probably no longer than the Mallard’s, and Mr. Wormald’s 
home-bred strain hatch in twenty-six to twenty-eight days. Although the behavior 
of the parent birds during the incubation period has never been described in detail, 
it seems safe to presume that the male stays wdth the female at least until after the 
young are hatched, as is the case with most ducks in which the sex plumages are 
similar. Butler (in Hume and Marshall, 1879) says the nests are easy to discover, 
as the old birds are generally in pairs close by, either swimming in the water 
or sitting on the bank. Sometimes the birds wheel round and round in the air just 
above the nest, says Baker (1908), and refuse to leave even after the nest has been 

Status. No specific information is available as to whether this bird is holding 
its own. 

Enemies. There is no information on this point, excepting a solitary note by 
Doig (in Hume and Marshall, 1879) who speaks of finding a nest destroyed and the 
eggs broken, the culprits evidently being a family of otters. 



Damage. They feed largely on rice and do considerable damage to the crop, 
both when it is young and when ripe (Baker, 1908). 

Food Value. Hume and Marshall (1879) class, it as second only to the Mallard 
and Pintail as a bird for the table, while Butler and Baker (1908) seem to consider 
it a close rival of the Mallard. It is said to be larger and more uniformly in good 
condition than that species, but at times it is thought to have a fishy flavor. 

Hunt. The Spot-bill is regarded as one of the best of the Indian sporting ducks. 
The hunters lie in wait for it on moonlit nights and sometimes use decoys. Numbers 
of the flappers are caught by the Mussulman Manipuris with spears and nets, and 
they sometimes form part of the bag when the natives of other parts of India have 
a duck-drive into nets (Baker, 1908). Hume and Marshall (1879) say the shikaris 
wade up to them with guns concealed behind bundles of floating rushes. Occasion- 
ally Spot-bills are caught by hand by the well-known method of wading in with only 
the disguised head of the hunter above the surface. 

Behavior in Captivity. This species was represented in the famous collection 
of the Earl of Derby at Knowsley, and was acquired by the London Zoological 
Society from that collection in 1851. It was not again imported until 1868, when 
several males were received. It first bred in London in 1874, and several times in 
the subsequent years. It was common in zoological gardens on the Continent by 
1880. In the Calcutta Gardens it bred in 1885 and has been bred often by private 

The only pair I ever kept did not breed, but proved hardy, became very tame, and 
lived a number of years on my ponds until I finally sold them. 

Miss Hubbard foimd that Spot-bills could support considerable cold. Her birds 
laid in April and one nest contained twelve eggs, six of which produced young. 

Rogeron (1903) has nothing good to say about them from an avicultural view- 
point, and found that they triumphed over other species and were always crossing 
with Mallards, African Yellow-bills and Australian Ducks. Besides they were as 
greedy as Domestic Ducks with much more vigor and agility in their movements, a 
“sort of savage agility which completely lacks charm and grace.” Hybrids with the 
Mallard inherited, so he thought, all the “faults of character” of the Spot-bill parent. 

Captivity-bred strains are easy to rear and one female in Mr. Wormald’s (1922) 
ponds laid three different clutches of eggs in the summer of 1922. It is doubtful 
whether they ever breed until two years old, but more information is necessary. 

In England they sold at from £2 to £6 per pair before the War, and at the present 
time good hand-reared birds bring about £5 the pair. They are not very commonly 
imported into America, and bring only moderate prices, the New York Zoological 



Society having obtained them at an average of $12.00 per pair, although this is 
certainly low. They were first bred in this country by Frederick Gallatin. 

They live well in confinement and the average duration of life of thirty-seven 
individuals in London was thirty-three months with a maximum age of ten years 
and seven months. 


Characters: Orange spot at base of culmen; bill large. 

Range: India as far as western Assam, and in Cachar, Sylhet, Chittagong, and possibly into Arakan. 
The specimens which I have seen from Manipur and Assam (British Museum) appear the same as 
those from India. 


Polionetta haringtoni Oates, .lourn. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., vol. 17, p. 558, 1907. 

Anas haringtoni Harington, Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., vol. 19, p. 313, 1909. 

Anas pacilorhyncka haringtoni Baker, Journ. Bombay Nat. Hist. Soc., vol. 22, p. 805, 1914. 

Characters: Orange spot at base of bill absent. Size slightly smaller. Specimens from southern 
Shan States in British Museum seem to be a little lighter colored on the breast and upper abdomen. 

Range: Valley of the Irrawaddy River and the whole of Burma, the Shan States and Chin Hills, 
Yunnan, Cochin-China and possibly southwestern China (Baker, 1914). 


(Plate 24) 


Anas pcecilorhyncha Reichenbach (jiee Forster), Synopsis Avium, Natatores, pi. Ill, 
fig. 1081, 1845. 

Anas zonorhyncha R. Swinhoe, Ibis, ser. 2, vol. 2, p. 394, 1866. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Eastern Spot-billed Duck, Eastern Yellow-billed Duck, Zone-billed Duck, 
Dusky Mallard, Eastern Gray Duck, Yellow-nib. 

French: Canard a bee orange. 

German: Gelbschnabel Ente. 

Japanese: Karugamo. 


Adult Male: Most like the male of Anas pcecilorhyncha, but the whole under surface except breast 
a nearly uniform gray brown with spots hardly showing at all. Some specimens are much darker 
than others. The upper breast is lighter and more like that of Anas pcecilorhyncha, but is less heavily 
spotted. The head is nearly the same except for the presence of an ill-defined stripe running back 
from the angle of the jaw. Upper surface nearly the same, but mantle more uniform. Speculum 
purple instead of green. Anterior white wing-bar reduced or nearly absent. Posterior white bar 
absent or reduced to a mere line. 

Iris yellow-brown. Bill without the orange patch at base of culmen; tip yellow. Legs and feet 
deep orange. 

Wing 263-293 mm.; bill 50-55; tarsus 43^9. 

Adult Female : Under parts much more streaked and spotted than in the male. Upper side nearly 
the same as in male; colors of soft parts the same; size smaller. 

Wing 255-262 mm.; bill 45-49; tarsus 42^4. 

Immature Specimens: Paler than the female, and with small dusky spots on the under parts. The 
edges of the upper wing-coverts pale; a broad subapical white band across the greater wing-coverts, 
and the outer web of the tertials for the greater part white (Salvadori, 1895). 

Young in Down: Upper side from the forehead to the tail pale olive-brown; a stripe of the same 
color from the base of the culmen through the eye, and another short line under the ear-coverts; 
superciliary stripe, sides of head and neck, throat, crop, and the back edge of the wing, a spot behind 
the wing, and another on the sides of the rump light pale-yellow. Sides and front part of breast, 
almost to the middle, grayish brown ; middle of the under side of the body, dirty, rusty cream-color 
(Hartert, 1920). 






The present species appears to be essentially non-migratory, although if data were to be had it 
might be shown that there are more or less, perhaps even considerable, seasonal movements in the 
Kuriles northern part of the range. The species is distinctly a Chino- Japanese one and is rarely 
found outside the dominions of these two countries. In the east this duck extends 
north as far as the Kuriles, though probably only to the southernmost islands of the group (Ogawa, 
1908; Stejneger, 1898) and on Yezo (Ogawa, 1908) where it is resident and common (Seebohm, 
1890). l\Tiitely (1867), however, found it a rare bird at Hakodadi. On the island of 
Saghalin, eggs were taken at the mouth of the Susuya River on May 17, 1906 (Lbnn- 
berg, 1908), but this is the only record of its occurrence even in the south of this island. In Japan 
proper the species is resident (Seebohm, 1890) and breeds on the inland lakes, as at 
Chiusenji Lake (Jouy, 1883). Kuroda (1918) has also recorded it breeding, and 
Blakiston and Fryer (1878) found it nesting abundantly in Tokio Bay. Ogawa (1908) has recorded 
it for Yokohama. Southward, these ducks have been met with on various islands of the Loo-choo 
group, namely on Tanegashima, Okinawashima and Ishigakishima (Ogawa, 1905) and they are 
Formosa known also from Formosa (R. Swinhoe, 1863; Uchida, 1912) where, however, they 
seem to occur only in winter (R. Swinhoe, 1863). The southernmost record is 
Philippines probably that of R. C. McGregor (1909) who met with no less than twelve birds on 
Calayan Island, northern Philippines, on December 7, 1903. This date and R. Swinhoe’s (1863) 
remark about Formosa, as well as notes about certain localities in southern China, lead me to suspect 
that the species is primarily, though not exclusively, a winter bird in southern China, south of perhaps 
30° north latitude. 

In eastern Asia the present species does not occur much north of the Amur. Von Homeyer (1870) 
has recorded a specimen from the middle Amur and Dybowski (Taczanowski, 1873) found it in 
Dauria on the Onon and Argun Rivers. Radde (1863) met with it in the same region at Udir. It no 
doubt breeds, for Dybowski (Taczanowski, 1873) found the birds in pairs in May and took young in 
down {fide Taczanowski, 1893). Farther south the species breeds in Manchuria 
(Kuroda, 1918) but it is rare about Lake Hanka (Prjevalski, 1878). Taczanowski 
(1893) has recorded its occurrence in Korea, and Kuroda (1918) states that it breeds in that peninsula. 
Farther west the Eastern Yellow-bill is quite common in southeastern Mongolia and breeds in the 
valley of the Hoang-ho (David and Oustalet, 1877; Prjevalski, 1878). On the coast it is everywhere 
China abundant; it is resident at Peking (David and Oustalet, 1877), at Wei-hai-wei (K. H. 

Jones, 1911), at Kiau-chau (Kleinschmidt, 1913) and throughout the valley of the 
lower Yangtse, from Kiu-kiang (La Touche, 1892; Seebohm, 1884) and even Hankow, to the sea 
(Styan, 1891; R. Swinhoe, 1866). According to La Touche (1892) it is resident even as far south as 
Foochow and Swatow, and R. Swinhoe (1870) has recorded it from Canton. Vaughan and Jones 
(1913) state that it is the commonest duck in winter in southeastern China, about Hong-kong, and 
that a few stay throughout the summer to breed. 

The western limits of this duck are still largely undefined. Since the erection of the subspecies 
Anas peecilorhyncha haringtoni (Oates) I think all the numerous records of Anas zonorhyncha occur- 
ring in Burmese countries must be referred to the subspecies that forms the link between the Indian 
and the Chinese forms. The two species, or intergrades between them, are probably found near to- 
gether in Yunnan and possibly in extreme eastern Assam, if the records for Dibrugarh really refer to 
Anas zonorhyncha. Farther north the Chinese species certainly goes west to 100° east longitude for 
Thayer and Bangs (1912) have recorded no less than eleven specimens taken in winter (December) 
in western Szechwan where W. R. Zappey found the species common. I think the bird doubtfully 
recorded as Anas pacilorhyncha by E. H. Wilson (1913) from Kiating (Szechwan) was probably also 
of this species. It is recorded as common in winter at Shasi, Hupeh (La Touche, 1922). Still farther 


Map 33. Distribution of Eastern Spot-billed Duck {Anas zonorhyncha) 



north this duck was not seen by Prjevalski (1878) in Kan-su, on the Koko-nor or on the Zaidam, but 
since then Berezowski and Bianchi (1891) have reported it in Kan-su, central China, and even in the 
Nan-shan Mountains, and David and Oustalet (1877) speak of it as breeding in the Ordos and in 
Mongolia. The western limit is evidently about 100° east longitude. There are two extreme western 
records: one of a bird collected by Holderer in central Asia, — no locality (Schalow, 1901), — and 
one for the vicinity of Angssi, Tien-shan region, collected by the Grum-Grzimailas, February, 1890 
(Pleske, 1892). 


Almost nothing about the life-history of this bird is to be found in the literature of 
ornithology. All one can do is to presume that its habits are very similar to those of 
the Indian Spot-bill or the Mallard. Although primarily local there is little doubt 
that it is migratory in the northern and northwestern parts of its habitat. Prjevalski 
found it migratory in southeastern Mongolia. 

Unlike the Spot-bill it seems to be very partial to salt water. Vaughan and Jones 
(1913) found it in Canton Bay on islands and boulders off the coast, flying inland 
to the paddy-fields at sunset. In summer the birds are found in pairs or threes, but 
in October and November they assemble in large flocks. In Lakhimpur (Assam) a 
flock of forty (species?) w'as seen on one occasion, but as a rule the birds are found 
there singly or in pairs, or less frequently in parties of four or five (Baker, 1908). 
Baker always found single individuals in the company of Teal, Gadwall or other 
ducks, and remarks that they were extremely wild in this region. On the coasts 
about Hong-kong (according to Vaughan and Jones, 1913) they were found in the 
autumn associating wdth gulls {Larus canus and Larus cachinnans), cormorants 
(Phalacrocorax) and egrets {Demiegretta). 

Nesting. In the Hong-kong region the Eastern Gray Duck seems to nest in 
April, for Vaughan and Jones (1913) found ducklings swimming in the sea in May. 
On rocky islands outside Swatow, La Touche (1907) noted them breeding in May 
and June and found some eggs on the point of hatching as late as July. Styan (1891) 
found eggs on the lower Yangtse in May and also in July. Those of the latter month 
he attributed to a second brood. At the northern limit of its range in Dauria birds 
were found paired early in May, and Dybowski took downy young in that region 
(Taczanowski, 1870). Blakiston and Fryer (1882) say it nested in a park near 
Tokio in April, while in southern Saghalin eggs have been taken as early as May 
17 (Ldnnberg, 1908). 

A nest found near Swatow on the summit of an island was located among low 
brushwood and rank grasses (La Touche, 1907). 

Food Value. Like the Indian Spot-bill these fine large ducks are excellent for 
the table. The Chinese are said to split them down the back, dry them and sell them 



in the markets of Canton (Vaughan and Jones, 1913). Many are said to be caught in 
flight-nets in that region. The late Walter R. Zappey who collected for Thayer and 
Bangs in western Szechwan in 1908, said that the natives shot these birds in con- 
siderable numbers for food. Baker (1908) speaks of shooting these and other ducks 
in Lakhimpur, by erecting concealed platforms and then making drives wdth boats. 

Status. There is no information as to recent increase or decrease of this species, 
but in 1913 it was said to be the commonest duck in southern China (Vaughan and 
Jones, 1913). Ghidini (1911), speaking of wholesale importations of ducks from the 
lower Yangtse to Europe, says he found among a large number of other species a few 
specimens of the Eastern Gray Duck. Apparently these birds were shipped from the 
vicinity of Hankow. 

In Japan this duck is protected by law from April 16 to October 14 and is then 
regarded as a game-bird. 

I have never seen this bird in confinement in America, and so far as I know it has 
never been imported alive into either America or Europe. 


(Plate 24) 


Anas luzonica Fraser, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1839, p. 113. 

Anas luconica Finsch, Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 18, p. 358, 1870. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Philippine Mallard. 

Filipino: {Manila) Dumaras; (Ticao) Damulog. 


Adult Male: In general appearance similar to Anas superciliosa, but the plumage is more gray and 
very uniform, both above and below. Top of head dark brown, extending back into the gray of hind 
neck. A superciliary stripe, the sides of the head, chin, throat and under side of neck a ruddy buff, or 
rufous color. Through the eye and extending from the bill to the occiput is a wide blackish band. 
Back and rump much darker than rest of plumage. Wing with a purplish green speculum bordered 
in front and behind by black bands and also by narrow anterior and posterior white bars. 

Iris hazel. Bill lead-blue. Legs and feet blackish brown (J. Whitehead, 1899). 

Wing 240-250 mm.; bill 54; tarsus 46. 

Adult Female: Similar, but slightly smaller. Wing 235 mm.; bill 51; tarsus 46. 

Immature : Similar to adult, only much paler on the head and throat, which are scarcely tinged with 
rufous; the speculum less bright and with some purple reflections (Salvadori, 1895). 


The Philippine Mallard has never been met with outside the Philippine archipelago. Recent years 
have shown it to have a wide distribution in those islands. It is essentially a rare bird and is seldom 
seen in great numbers. The species was discovered by L. Fraser (1839) on the island of Luzon, and 
for many years was known only from that island. It has been recorded from there by Cuming 
(British Museum), Heriot (British Museum), J. Whitehead (1899) and R. C. McGregor (1909), 
while Worcester {fide R. C. McGregor, 1909) found it in great numbers on the lower Abulug 
River in March. J. Whitehead (1899) found it on Catanduanes, and R. C. McGregor (1909) has 
recorded it from Lubang. It occurs on Mindoro (R. C. McGregor, 1909) and also on Marinduque 
(Steere, 1890), Ticao (R. C. McGregor, 1909) and Masbate, where Worcester and Bourns (1898) 
found it common at Milagros on the west coast. It has also been recorded from Samar (J. White- 
head, 1899), Panay (Worcester and Bourns, 1898), Guimaras and Siquijor (Steere, 1890), and even 
from Mindanao (Mearns, ^de R. C. McGregor, 1909). Negros, Cebu, Bohol and Leyte are the only 
ones of the larger islands from which it has not yet been reported. 




Very little has been w ritten about the life-history of this bird. J. \Miitehead (1899) 
found it in large flocks on the Rio Grande in northern Luzon during the month of 
April, when over a hundred could be seen together. It frequents small mountain 
lakes, usually in small flocks, in Benguit and Lepanto. Whitehead found it tame; 
tw'o of his servants shot over twenty in two hours on one of the Lepanto Lakes. 
R. C. McGregor (1909) did not often find it in large numbers, but usually in pairs 
on the tidal creeks, small ponds or other suitable localities. Worcester and Bourns 
{fide R. C. McGregor, 1909) considered it rare in all localities visited, except Mila- 
gros on the west coast of the island of Masbate, where it w'as very abundant, 
occurring in great flocks. Aggregations of from twenty-five to two hundred were 
constantly met wdth on the low’er Abulug River in northern Luzon. Governor 
W. Cameron Forbes told me that he did not consider this at all a common duck 
and that in all his travels about the islands he never met with it anywhere in really 
large assemblages. 

It has never been exported alive to Europe or America. 

Map 34. Distribution of Philippine Mallard {Anas luzonica) 

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(Plate 24) 


Anas superciliosa Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 537, 1788. 
Anas leucophrys J. R. Forster (nec Vieillot), Descriptiones Animalium, p. 93, 1844. 
Anas mulleri Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 649, 1856. 
Anas superciliaris E. L. and E. L. C. Layard, Ibis, ser. 4, vol. 4, p. 233, 1880. 
Additional synonymy under Geographical Races. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Black Duck, Australian or Australasian Wild Duck, Brown Duck, Gray 

French: Canard a sourcils blancs. 

German: Australische or Australasische Wildente, Augenbrauen Ente. 

West Australian: Gwoom-nan-na, Mara or Koona. 

New Zealand: He-turvera, Parera, Muamu. 

Celebes: Kiti-balang. Bismarck Archipelago: Mbolom. 

Pelew Islands: Atababar, Tabarr. Society Islands: Mora. 

Samoa Islands: Toloa, Doloa. Tonga Islands: ToXosi. 

New Caledonia: Nia. Fiji Islands: Ngaloa. 


Adult Male: In general appearance it bears a close resemblance to Anas rubripes, from which it 
can be told at once by its very black face-striping and its green speculum. General plumage above 
dark brown, the feathers edged with buff; lower parts uniform dark brown or gray-brown, the 
margins of the feathers edged also with buff. Top of head black, or nearly so, merging into gray on 
the hind neck; below this a narrow buff line. Below this and extending from lores through and behind 
'eye, a broad black or blackish band. The rest of the face, chin and throat light buff, except for 
minute streaks here and there condensed into a band running back from angle of jaw. Wing-specu- 
lum like that of Anas rubripes but green instead of purple. Axillars and under wing-coverts white. 

Iris hazel-brown. Bill plumbeous, with the nail black. Legs yellow-brown to yellowish, webs dusky. 

Wing 247-272 mm.; bill 48-54; tarsus 43-49. 

Weight 2 pounds or a little more (0.90 -f kilograms). 

Adult Female: Similar to male, but slightly smaller. 

Immatures in First Plumage: No specimens available. 



Young in Doivn: In general appearance very similar to, and not always to be distinguished from the 
Mallard. Crown very dark, eye-stripe darker and more prominent than in Mallard. A small black 
area at angle of jaw indicates the jaw-stripe in the adult and is not present in the iVIallard nor in 
the American Black Ducks. This last appears to be the best character. Legs and bill darker than in 






The Black Duck inhabits .Vustralia and Polynesia, is a common species, and as far as is now known, is 
essentially resident in the localities where found. It is rarely found north of the equator, but seems 
to be not uncommon in the Pelew Islands, whence it has been reported by Tetens (fide 
Finsch, 1875) and Kubary (fide Finsch, 1875). Its westernmost limit is Sumatra where 
it was found in the central part of the mountain range at Alahan Panjang by the INIid-Sumatran 
Expedition, and where it was discovered to be common about Korinchi Peak and Korinchi Lake 
(Robinson and Kloss, 1918). It seems to be a well-known bird in Java (Boie, Leyden 
Museum; Junghuhn, Leyden Museum; Vorderman, 1883; Hartert, 1901-02; Konings- 
berger, 1915). It has been met with in the Kangean Islands (Mathews, 1914-15) and also in Lombok 
at altitudes up to 12,000 feet (Everett, Meyer and Wiglesworth, 1897; Ilartert, 1896a), in Flores 
(Leyden Museum), in Sumba (Riedel, fide Salvador!, 1882; Hartert, 1898), not rarely in Savu 
(Hartert, 1897) and in Timor (MUller, Leyden Museum; Wallace, Salvador!, 1882). So far it 
has never been found in Borneo, but it is quite common on Lake Posso, central Celebes 
(Sarasin, ^de Meyer and Wiglesworth, 1898) and at Paloppo (Koningsberger, 1915), 
and is also knowm from Maros in southern Celebes (Platen, fide Meyer and Wiglesworth, 1898). It 
is remarkable that in the Moluccas it is known only from Burn (Forbes, British Mu- 
seum) where, according to Stresemann (1914a) it is common. Considering its occur- 
rence in the Pelew Islands and in New Guinea, it must inhabit other islands in the Moluccan 
archipelago. So far as I know it has not been recorded from Timor Laut nor from the Aru group. 
New nor have I found any evidence of its occurrence in Dutch New Guinea though there can 

Guinea be little doubt of its presence there. It has been reported from German New Guinea 
for Huon Gulf (A. B. Meyer, 1884) and has been found on the Admiralty Islands (Rothschild and 
Bismarck Hartert, 1914) as well as on New Hanover (Cabanis and Reichenow, 1876) and in the 
Archipelago Bismarck Archipelago at Torin (Dahl, 1899). W. Meyer (1909) reports a duck resem- 
bling the present species as common in the Bismarck group and it is said to breed at Karavat. 
There is, ho'wever, some reason to suppose the birds are migratory in this region. In British New 
Guinea the species was found on the Laloki River (Goldie, fiide Ramsay, 1879), at Port Moresby 
(Stone, fide Salvador!, 1882) and at South Cape (Ramsay, 1879). Sharpe (1878) states also that it 
occurs in southeastern New Guinea. Ramsay (1879a) has recorded its occurrence in the Louisiades, 
and Hartert (1899) says it has been found on St. Aignan in the same group. It is known also from 
the Solomon Islands (Ogilvie-Grant, 1888; Woodford, 1890, p. 58) where it was found 
rare on Ugi and St. Christoval (Ramsay, 1882) but common on Ysabel (Rothschild and 
Hartert, 1902). Tristram (1894) found it also on Santa Cruz. Layard (fide Wigles- 
worth, 1891) met with the species in the New Hebrides, and Tristram (E. L. and E. L. 
C. Layard, 1878) has recorded it for Aneiteum Island in the same group. In the Loy- 
alty Islands it has been found in Lifu (Layard, fide Wiglesworth, 1891) and in New 
Caledonia it is a common bird (E. L. and E. L. C. Layard, 1882; Sarasin, 1913). 

In Australia the Blaek Duck is found in all sections and is almost everywhere common. Carter 
and Mathews (1920) state that it is abundant and breeds in southwestern Australia, but according 
to C. G. Gibson (1909) it is rare in Belladonia. Very likely it is rare not only in the 
desert regions of western Australia but also along most of the south coast south of the 
great Victoria Desert. It would be useless to record all the very numerous reports of the occurrence 




Loyalty Ids. 

New Cale- 


Map 35. Distribution of Australian Duck {Anas superciliosa) 





of the present species in Australia. The Emu for the past ten years gives numerous records. I must 
confine myself to a selection of the older writers. Crossman (1909) states that it is common on the 
Salt River, West Australia, and in the same State it is abundant at hloor (Orton and West 
Sandland, 1913), rare at Point Cloates and on the Gascoyne (Carter,^de North, 1913). Australia 
It is a common breeding bird about Derby and the Fitzroy River (Ramsay, 1888; Soderberg, 1919) 
and common in the northwestern areas (North, 1898). In the North Territory it is foimd at Ports 
Darwin and Essington, and on the Gulf of Carpentaria (Ramsay, 1877), as well as on the Mary and 
South Alligator Rivers (Hartert, 1905). How far south it may extend into the interior I am unable 
to say. In Queensland, according to Ramsay (1877), it occurs in the Cape York, 

Rockingham Bay, Port Denison and Wide Bay regions, while Broadbent (1910) 
states that it breeds in Cardwell in the north, and it has also been recorded breeding at Duaringa, 
and on the Dawson River in the southern sections (North, 1913). The same writer states that it is 
very common in New South Wales after the rains and that it breeds in that region. New South 
He states furthermore that a few are found about Sydney, on the George River, at Wales 
Port Hacking, on the Narrabeen Lagoons, at Botany Bay, etc. Ramsay (1877) has recorded the 
species for the Richmond and Clarence River districts and for the interior. It is common and breeds 
also in the Mudgee region (Cox and Hamilton, 1889). In Victoria the species appears 
to be as common as elsewhere on the continent. Ramsay (1877) has recorded it for 
this State and it has been furthermore reported as occurring about Melbourne (Heartland, fide 
North, 1913), as breeding on the Murray River (R. Hall, 1909) and on Lake Boga, as well as on the 
Kow Plains, northwestern Victoria (F. E. Howe, 1910). In South Australia it is a very common 
bird (Ramsay, 1877; WTiite, Mathews, 1914-15) and breeds on Lakes Alexandrina and Albert 
(Mellor, fide Mathews, 1914-15). It is very common in the Dalhousie region (S. A. White, 1913) 
and on the Eyre Peninsula (R. Hall, 1909). According to Eylmann (1911) it is everywhere a com- 
mon breeder in the interior. On the islands of Bass Strait (North, 1913) and in Tas- 
mania also this species is common, and is known to breed (Ramsay, 1877; Holden, 

North, 1913; Fletcher, Mathews, 1914-15). 

Off the east coast of Australia the Black Duck has been found on Lord Howe Island (Ramsay, 
1888) though it appears to occur there only occasionally (Hull, 1909). On Norfolk Lord Howe 
Island it has also been met with (Ramsay, 1888; von Pelzeln, fide Salvadori, 1882) 
and Hull (1909) states that it breeds there. It is a common resident and breeding bird 
in both the North and the South Islands of New Zealand and occurs everywhere 
(Buffer, 1888; Finsch, 1870a; W. W. Smith, 1889; Hutton, 1904). South of New Zea- 
land it is not uncommon on the Auckland Islands (Ogilvie-Grant, 1905b) and probably rare on 
Campbell Island, where it has been found (Gray, fide Salvadori, 1882). East of New Zealand it is 
common on the Chatham Islands (H. 0. Forbes, 1893; Hutton, 1904; Buffer, 1888; Chatham 
Travers, 1872) and presumably breeds there. On the Kermadecs, north of New Zea- 
land, it is a resident species (Cheeseman, 1891 ; Iredale, 1913) and has been found breeding in a high 
crater on Sunday Island in that group (Oliver, 1913). It has been met with also in the 
Tonga Group on Eua (Hubner,^de Salvadori, 1882; Finsch and Hartlaub, 1867) and 



Norfolk Id. 



Tonga Ids, 

on Tongatabu (Peale, Finsch and Hartlaub, 1870a) as well as in the Fiji Islands 

Fiji Ids. 

on Kandavu and Niuafou (Finsch, 1877a, p. 737; 1877b, p. 785), and on Viti Levu (GraSe, fide 
Finsch and Hartlaub, 1867 ; Layard,^de Wiglesworth, 1891). P. H. Bahr (1912, p. 312) states that it 
is growing rare on the Fiji Islands, particularly on Viti Levu. Farther east the species Samoa Ids. 
has been found on Upolu and Tahiti (Graffe,^de Finsch, 1872b, p. 33) in the Samoa 
group, and on Huaheine (Peale, fide Finsch and Hartlaub, 1867; Wodehouse, fide 
Wiglesworth, 1891) in the Society group. It has recently been taken in the Austral 
Islands on Rimitara, Tubuai and Ravavai (R. H. Beck specimens, Whitney South 

Society Ids. 
Austral Ids. 
Rupa Id. 

Sea Exped.). The extreme easterly recorded occurrence appears to be Rupa Island, some distance 



southeast of the Austral group, where Mr. Beck took a number of specimens in April, 1921, and 
in February, 1922. 


Haunts. The Australian Duck may be called the Mallard of the South Pacific, and 
resembles its northern relative very closely in all its habits and mode of life. It 
frequents “swamps, lagoons, scrub-lined rivers, creeks and waterholes, also estua- 
rine areas, bays and inlets, especially those covered at the sides with dwarf bushes ” 
(North, 1913). On many of the smaller islands, and also in New Zealand, the species 
is more commonly found on the coasts; its movements are probably governed by the 
rainfall and it is numerous in the interior only when the country has been inundated. 
It is found in very diverse kinds of country: on coral islands, on the crater lakes 
of Java (Koningsberger, 1915) and in one case at an elevation of 12,000 feet on 
Lombok (Hartert, 1896a). 

Wariness. MTiere constantly persecuted, as is the case in the settled parts of 
Australia, the Black Duck is exceedingly shy and wary and quite as well able to take 
care of itself as are its near relatives. In less frequented regions the birds are 
naturally much tamer. One writer (Travers, 1872) considered them less shy than 
the New Zealand Sheldrake {Casarca variegata). But they respond readily to protec- 
tion, and in the garden-ponds in and about Perth, Australia, they have become so 
tame that they allow themselves to be fed by children though they will not take 
food from the hand. In the evening these same birds repair to near-by mud-flats 
where they become as shy as ever (Carter and Mathews, 1920). Mathews (1914-15) 
quotes a note from Carter concerning their habits in southwestern Australia. In a 
tank two hundred yards from the house the birds became so tame that they would 
come to the stables and stockyards to pick up corn among the horses and cattle. 
At milking time they actually fed underneath the cows, within fiv’e yards of where 
a man was milking. W. W. Smith (1897) speaks of certain pinioned birds on a 
domain in New Zealand that would not only follow visitors for food but would lie 
still and allow themselves to be stroked while being fed. 

Daily Movements. The Australian Duck is crepuscular in its habits, and evi- 
dently becomes entirely nocturnal in settled districts. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Flight. There is nothing characteristic about the 
posture of this bird, either on the water or on the land. At a small distance, only an 
expert can distinguish it from our North American Black Duck. On account of its 
tree-breeding habits it necessarily perches more frequently than the Mallard. It is 
not known to dive except when wounded. But the young dive as freely as those of all 
surface-feeding ducks. 



It was commonly stated by Australians that this duck could outfly any of the 
birds of prey, but Goudie (1899) quotes a letter from his brother in which the latter 
recounts an instance where a hawk (species unknown) struek one down. They 
usually fly in small parties up to twenty or thirty, and do not flock together like 
Tree Ducks and some other Australian species (Berney, 1907). Large eongregations 
are, however, occasionally found, and in the Ulmarra Swamps (New South Wales) 
they have been described as rising with a sound like the distant roar of thunder 
(Savidge, in North, 1913). 

Association with other Species. Occasionally the Black Duck is seen in 
company with other species, notably the Gray Teal {Anas gibberifrons) and the 
White-eyed Duek {Nyroca australis), according to Keartland (North, 1898). On 
the coasts they have also been observed resting on the sand-bars with gulls and 
cormorants (Buller, 1888). 

Voice. Specimens which I have kept and bred for many years always seemed 
to me extremely quiet. Their notes, so far as I recall, are exactly like those of the 

Food. These birds are strictly surface-feeders, and their diet consists of a great 
variety of aquatic plants and animals, according to locality. Mellor (in Mathews, 
1914-15) says they live on seeds of grass or aquatic plants, also the leaves of various 
plants, and they are very fond of “doek seed.” In New Zealand they seem to be 
especially fond of green beetles and the stingless gnats (nahonaho), whieh “swarm 
in eountless myriads over all the waters in the lake district”; and in the gullets have 
been found also the seeds of Triglochin triandrum and of various species of Lemna 
(Buller, 1888). In the Murray River district (Australia) both the adults and the 
young like to flsh about the willows and pussy-tail weeds, in search of shrimps and 
little “yabbies”; they seem to adopt a mass method in “bristling” the shrimps, just 
as the pelicans do with the beach Ashes (R. Hall, 1909). Buller (1905) mentions 
their feeding on the spawn of eels with which food their crops were distended. Writ- 
ing of New South Wales, Mr. Austin (in North, 1913) speaks of their frequenting the 
wheat paddoeks at harvesting time. He thinks wheat their prineipal food when they 
can get it and says nearly all the Black Ducks he shot in March had wheat in them, 
“some of them great quantities.” Hutton and Drummond (1905) say that these 
ducks frequent the stubble-flelds in New Zealand also, and are especially partial to 
pea stubbles. 

Courtship and Nesting. The breeding season extends throughout the entire 
year, and in Australia as elsewhere is very irregular. In New South Wales the Black 



Duck is a very early breeder, usually commencing in July and continuing until the 
end of December or the end of January, sometimes even into March and April, 
depending on the rainfall (North, 1913). In Queensland fresh eggs have been taken at 
the end of October and April (North, 1913), but the regular season there appears to 
be from January to April (Berney, 1907). July and August seem to be the usual 
breeding months in Tasmania (Mathews, 1914-15), though Legge (1905) speaks of 
young two weeks old being taken there in March. In central Australia young have 
been found in May and June (North, 1896). In northern Australia they breed mostly 
in May, a few in March and April (D, Le Souef, 1903), while in northwestern 
Australia fresh eggs have been found in January and February and young in late 
June and August (North, 1898). Carter and Mathews (1920) say the birds breed 
from July to September in southwestern Australia, and White (in Mathews, 1914- 
15) gives August and September as the breeding season in South Australia. For New 
Zealand there are records for September, October and January (Buller, 1888, 
1905). A nest was found on New Caledonia on October 15 (E. L. and E. L. C. 
Layard, 1882) and on Sunday Island, Kermadec group, nests were taken on Octo- 
ber 1 and 22 (Oliver, 1913). In the Bismarck Archipelago it is said to breed during 
the southeast monsoon, but not during the northwest (W. Meyer, 1909), 

Unfortunately I never saw my own birds display, nor do I know of any satis- 
factory description of the behavior during the mating period. In spite of the un- 
specialized plumage of the male he evidently has a definite type of display, for 
Finn (1919) noticed that they reared up and courtesied like a Mallard, and Heinroth 
(1911) also remarked the resemblance between the display in this species and in 
the Mallard. 

Most writers agree in saying that where hollow trees, especially the red gum, are 
available, these ducks take advantage of elevated situations in which to build the 
nest. Very often, however, they nest on the ground, either in rushes near the 
water, on tussocks or on the open plains. They are even fond of standing crops for 
nest cover (White, in Mathews, 1914-15). There are many instances of their choos- 
ing the abandoned nests of crows, ravens, magpies and even in one case the nest of 
an eagle-hawk. In New Zealand they seem to nest in trees less frequently than in 
Australia (Buller, 1888; Hutton and Drummond, 1905). Nests located in trees are 
usually at low elevations, but some have been found as high as twenty and even 
forty feet (Avicultural Mag., ser. 1, vol. 8, p. 74, 1902). 

The size of the clutch is variable and may depend on the rainfall and consequent 
food supply. One writer (Travers, 1872) thinks the brood barely exceeds five, but 
others place it all the way from six and seven to eight or ten. Mathews (1914-15) 
regards thirteen as the maximum. A. C. Stone (1912) speaks of fifteen as the maxi- 
mum, and Buller (1905) reeords a nest found in New Zealand containing seventeen 
The nest was on the top of Cook’s Rock in Mercury Bay, in a natural hollow 



about forty feet above the level of the open sea. The clutch was possibly the work 
of two females. From a careful examination of the literature it would seem that the 
normal clutch is smaller than that of the Mallard: about seven or eight. The eggs 
are smooth and slightly glossy, pale greenish white, 56-58 mm. by 41-42.5 mm. 
(Mathews, 1914-15). The incubation period is evidently the same as that of the 
Mallard, twenty-seven to twenty-eight days (Heinroth, 1908). There is an interest- 
ing case on record of a nest being flooded for two hours, during which the duck swam 
about over the nest-site in evident distress. When the water had gone down she 
resumed incubation and eventually hatched out all her eggs (Dennis, 1907). 

The fact that some ducks nest in trees has long made them the subject of tales, 
fabulous and otherwise, as to how they convey the young to the ground or to the 
water. Unfortunately the reports of the more unusual methods reach us only at 
second or third hand. The really reliable, direct observations indicate that the 
young of Australian Black Duck are coaxed into jumping down from the nest as is 
the case with other members of the family. 

I have some very interesting notes on the non-breeding of Australian Ducks and 
other water-birds during drought years, kindly sent in by Mr. Edwin Ashby of 
Blackwood, South Australia. It seems that during times of great drought in central 
and northern Australia great quantities of this and other species come down to the 
Murray River district and other parts of South Australia. Sometimes these strangers 
remain through one or even more breeding seasons without pairing, or showing any 
signs of breeding. More remarkable still, the influx of outsiders seems to stop the 
local stock from breeding also. When the drought is broken in the north, these hosts 
of water-fowl return to their former haunts. 

Status. All the older writers describe this species as extremely abundant, 
particularly during periods of flood. In the early ’80’s in the Clarence River district 
it was so numerous that it was no uncommon thing for a couple of guns to bag over 
one hundred in a single day (Savidge, in North, 1913). Though diminished in num- 
bers they are still plentiful except in the drained and settled districts, and form the 
mainstay of the Australian duck-shooter. A recent letter from a correspondent, Mr. 
Charles T. Barnard, a resident for 48 years in central Queensland, describes the 
Australian Ducks in general as holding their own, and well protected by laws in the 
more settled parts. Farther back their breeding places are practically undisturbed 
(by man at least). In New" Zealand the species w"as reported diminishing as early as 
1873 (in 1876 seven thousand moulting ducks, mostly of this species, w’ere caught on 
one lake in three days, in the Bay of Plenty district), but even at that time it was 
receiving the protection of the Colonial Government, w"ith the result that in 1905 it 
w’as holding its ground (Hutton and Drummond, 1905). Colonel Cradock (1904) 
estimated that it comprised 80% of all the wild ducks in the country. The Mallard 



has been introduced by various acclimatization societies, and by the Government, 
into many parts of New Zealand and according to Buller (1905) it is gradually sup- 
planting the native ducks and hybridizing with them. 

On some of the Pacific Islands this duck is undoubtedly becoming very scarce, 
due to the introduction of various predatory mammals, chiefly the mongoose. 
On Viti Levu (Fiji group), where it formerly existed in enormous numbers, it fell an 
easy prey to the latter animal and it is now extremely rare, though there are still 
considerable numbers on Ovalau (P. H. Bahr, 1912). Mr. Norman Hall writes me 
that in Tahiti ducks are now very scarce, while in the Kermadec group, according 
to Cheeseman (1891), this duck has been scarce since the eruption of 1872. 

Enemies. In Australia the introduced fox, domestic cat, and ferret are the most 
persistent enemies of the water-fowl. Mr. Charles M. Hoy, collecting for the 
United States National Museum, writes me that the ferret is the least widely dis- 
tributed, and that he himself found it only on the north coast of New South Wales. 
The fox has increased very rapidly, and is now found all over Queensland, New 
South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, and has begun to invade West Australia. 
He thinks the fox is doing by far the greatest damage to ducks, besides creating 
great havoc among the swans. It seems very likely that all ducks that nest on the 
ground will eventually be exterminated unless they can find islands in swamps and 
lakes suflScient for their needs. The cat is now distributed all over, including the 
desert interior, and is the next worst enemy of ducks. While it prefers smaller birds 
Mr. Hoy considers it an important enemy. The ferret he has never seen attack ducks 
but he thinks it probably destroys young in the nest. 

The Black-cheeked Falcon (Falco melanogenys) has been seen to kill twelve ducks 
of this and other species in one hour, without making any attempt to pick up the kills 
(F. C. Morse, 1919). 

Mr. Charles T.Barnard writes to me from Duaranga {via Rockhampton), Australia, 
that some of the hawks seem to be the principal natural enemies of the ducks, the 
Radiated Goshawk {Astur fasciatus) in particular and to a lesser degree the Little 
Eagle {Hieraaetus pennatus) both of which strike ducks while on the wing. The 
Whistling Eagle {Haliastur sphenurus) attempts to catch young ducks, although he 
has never actually seen it succeed. Mr. Barnard also names the water-rat {Ilydromys 
chrysogaster) as a possible enemy, for it quickly destroys all wounded ducks. 

Food Value. The flesh is excellent, especially at the beginning of the shooting 
season, when the birds are fat. Those from the interior lakes are quite naturally of a 
better flavor than those taken on the coasts. Buller (1888) regards it as perhaps the 
most valuable of the indigenous birds of New Zealand. The birds reach about 2.5 
pounds (1.13 kilograms) in weight, a little less than Mallard, and invariably 



brought the highest market price in Melbourne (R. Hall, 1909). I can testify myself 
to the excellent eating qualities of hybrids between this species and the Mallard, 
many of which I formerly raised on my ponds at Wenham, Massachusetts. 

MacPherson (1897) tells of a Maori method of cooking and preserving ducks 
in their own fat so that they would keep in calabashes for from one to two 

Hunt. Before the advent of white men the Maoris of New Zealand undoubtedly 
paid much attention to the capture of ducks. The ducks were caught in great num- 
bers by snares hung from a cord stretched across a river or lake-arm. Great duck 
drives on carefully preserved lakes took place during the moulting season, and were 
accompanied by solemn ceremonies on the part of the natives. Specially trained 
dogs were also used in hunting the moulting ducks. The Maori was also expert in 
capturing all species of ducks by swimming after them, seizing their feet and draw- 
ing them under (MacPherson, 1897). Colonel Cradock (1904) gives a good account 
of duck-shooting on the North Island. The sportsman is paddled up a river by a 
native in his canoe, and no paddlers are said to be more expert in getting silently 
up to ducks, which are shot as they rise out of the rushes on either bank. 

In western Australia the aborigines apparently lived on fish and turtles and did 
not attempt to snare birds. But in eastern Australia horizontal nets overhanging a 
river and suspended from lofty trees were used as drop-nets by the natives. A rather 
original method is described by Smj^th (in MacPherson, 1897) : a net sixty yards in 
length is stretched across a water course, with its lower part three or four feet above 
the water. One man proceeds up the river and cautiously moves so as to cause the 
ducks to swim toward the net. \Mien they are near enough he makes them rise and 
at the same time another native near the net throws up a piece of bark shaped like a 
hawk, and utters the cry of that bird. The ducks at that moment dip down and many 
are caught in the net. Sometimes as many as three dozen are taken at one time in 
this way. 

Market shooting was an important occupation in the earher days in eastern Austra- 
lia, and swivel and punt guns were used, imtil forbidden by law. 

Behavior in Captivity. A specimen of this duck was first received by the Lon- 
don Zoological Gardens in 1860. Others followed in 1863, 1865, 1866, but none bred 
until 1869. From that time till 1878 it nested regularly, the dates of hatching being 
nearly all for late June (P. L. Sclater, 1880). It has bred freely in various zoological 
gardens of Europe, and Mr. Le Souef writes me that it has done so in the Melbourne 
Gardens also. A mated pair which I kept for six or seven years bred every spring, 
and from them I reared at least forty young specimens. Two individuals which I 
reared at Wenham, Massachusetts, in 1914, were permitted the use of their wings 



and stayed around the ponds till December 17, when they disappeared, evidently 
making a local migration, perhaps to the neighboring seashore. 

The average longevity of 45 specimens in the London Gardens was 42 months, the 
maximum being nearly 16 years (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). The price in England before 
the war was about 30 shillings to £2 10s. per pair. In America they brought from 
$20.00 to $45.00 per pair. A recent price (November, 1920) in New York was even 
higher, namely $60.00 per pair. 

Hybrids. A wild hybrid sent to Buller in 1892 was at first supposed to be a 
cross with a Blue Mountain Duck (Hymenolcemus malacorhynchus) , but Buller 
(1905) as well as Salvador! (1895) now seem inclined to place it as a hybrid of Black 
Duck and Domestic Duck. Zietz (1912) has described fifteen wild hybrids between 
the Black Duck and the Gray Teal (Anas gibherifrons) and between the Black Duck 
and the Australian Shoveller (Spatula rhynchotis). In captivity it crosses readily 
with the Mallard, with the Indian Spot-bill (Anas poecilorhyncha) and the African 
Yellow-bill (Anas undulata). All these hybrids and various combinations of several 
of them are fertile, both inter se and with the parents (Poll, 1911). Mr. Le Souef 
writes me that in the Melbourne Gardens he has crossed them with Muscovy 
Ducks (Cairina moschata) and that the hybrids proved sterile, though they laid 
small eggs. 


It has long been noted by ornithologists that specimens of this duck from Polynesia are smaller 
than those from Australia, but the difference is not marked, and by some is not considered worthy 
of special recognition. Hartlaub and Finsch (1872), and Finsch (1875) separated birds from the 
Pelew Isles as a smaller race, but Salvador! (1895) did not recognize it. The truth is that birds from 
the whole of Polynesia, from Tahiti to the Pelew Isles are small, and probably belong to the same 
race, while a larger bird is said to occur in Savu, Timor and Sumba (Hartert, 1905). An intermediate 
race, described by J. H. Riley (1919) from Celebes seems to be larger than Anas superciliosa pelewensis 
and smaller than Anas s.rogersi. Birds from Australia and New Zealand are large, those from the 
latter being the largest of all. The various color difiFerences which have been used in describing 
these races seem to me of very doubtful value. It is possible that a large series, especially from out- 
lying islands, might clear up the situation, but at present only the following four races, one of very 
doubtful value, can be considered. 

Anas superciliosa Gmelin, Linn6’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 1, p. 537, 1788. 

Characters: Size large, wing 250-272 mm .? 

Range: Confined to New Zealand. 

Anas superciliosa rogersi Mathews, Austral Avian Rec., vol. 1, p. 33, 1912. 



Characters: Said to be somewhat smaller and lighter-colored than birds from New Zealand. This 
last character is not apparent in the specimens at hand. Wing 254-274 mm. (U.S. National Museum 
and Museum of Comparative Zoology specimens.) 

Range: Confined to Australia and Tasmania. 


Anas superdliosa percna Riley, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 32, p. 93, 1919. 

Characters: Larger than A. s. pelewensis and smaller than A. s. rogersi. Wing 240-266 mm. (U.S. 
National Museum specimens). 

Range: Celebes, and possibly Java and neighboring islands. 

Anas superdliosa pelewensis Hartlaub and Finsch, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1872, p. 108. 

Characters: Smaller; wing 216-242 mm. (U.S. National Museum specimens). 

Range: Java, Celebes, Pelew Isles, northern New Guinea, Solomon, Fiji, Samoan and Tonga Islands, 
and Tahiti. 


(Plate 25) 


Anas flavirostris Smith (nec Vieillot), Cat. South African Mus., p. 36, 1837. 

Anas undulata Dubois, Ornith. Gallerie, p. 119, pi. 77, 1839. 

Anas xanthorhyncha Forster, leones Ined., pi. 72; Descriptiones Animalium, p. 45, 

Anas capensis Lichtenstein (nec Gmelin), Verzeiehniss d. Saugethiere und Vogel, 

p. 20, 1842. 

Anas ruppelli Blyth {sic), Journ. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, vol. 24, p. 265, 1856. 
Querquedula xanthorhyncha Sharpe, Ibis, ser. 6, vol. 4, p. 541, 1892. 

Vernacular Names 

English: 'Vellow-billed Duck, African Yellow-billed Duck. 

French: Canard a bee orange. 

German: Gelbschnabel Ente. 

Dutch: Geelbec — (South Africa). 

Arabic: Boumon. 


Adult Male: General appearance like a female Mallard, but head and neck much darker and 
browner. Margins of the feathers of mantle and scapulars narrowly edged with very pale buff and 
gray. Lesser wing-coverts edged with white, and not plain-colored as in female Mallard. Speculum 
very similar to that of Mallard, varying from purple to green and framed with black and white bars. 

Iris dark brown. Bill orange-yellow, with the middle of the culmen and the nail black. Legs and 
feet dark brown (Neave, 1910) and black, or tinged with yellow according to other writers. 

Wing 246-255 mm.; tarsus 45-46; bill 49-52. 

Female: There is no real difference in the plumage of this sex as far as I have been able to see. The 
head may be slightly less dark and rich in color than in the male. Color of soft parts same as in male. 

Immature Specimens: Very similar, but the heads are apparently browner than in old birds. Mr. 
F. E. Blaauw says the markings of the feathers are less well defined. 

Young in Down : The whole of the under side, including throat and cheeks golden yellow. A dark 
band begins at the base of the bill, widens over the occiput, and becomes narrower over the back of 
the neck to join the brownish black of the upper side. The brown of the upper side runs into the 
yellow of the breast for about a centimeter on each side. A thin black line runs through each eye, 
meeting the brown of the back of the neck. There is a blackish patch over each ear. There is a 
yellow spot on each side of the back at the base of the wings and a yellow streak over each wing, also 
a yellow spot on each side of the back at the base of the tail and one above each thigh. The legs. 

Plate 25 


Made in Great Britain 



feet, and bill are black (Blaauw, 1919). Rogeron (1903) notes that it would be impossible to distin- 
guish them from young Mallards, except for the bill, which very soon takes on a yellow tint. The 
many specimens which I saw in the Leyden Museum and also in the British Museum led me to think 
it almost impossible to tell them from Mallards. In some, the dark ocular streak does not go forward 
of the eye and in others the yellow of the under side is very sharply defined from the brown of the 
upper side. But there are so many little variations in the down plumage of ducks that comparison of 
a few specimens is often misleading. 

Remarks on Proposed Races: The material which I have seen is insufficient to decide the validity 
of the separation which has been proposed. A northern form was recognized by Blyth (1856), but 
was not considered valid by Salvadori (1895). It was re-instated by Neumann (1904). In view of the 
fact that speculum-color appears to be a character of very doubtful value, and because birds with 
green specula have been noted in South Africa (Sassi, 191£), I have thought it best not to recognize 
A. u. rupfelli from northeastern Africa (Shoa). 



Like many tropical species the Yellow-billed Duck is only locally migratory, and is found throughout 
all parts of its range at very different seasons. It is primarily a South African species, and south of 
15° south latitude or at least 20° south latitude it is the commonest duck. In the east, 
however, the species is found as far north as Abyssinia where it is common and breeds, 
especially in the highlands of the south. Von Heuglin (1873) found it as far north as Lake Tana; 
Salvadori (1884, 1888) has repeatedly recorded it from Lakes Addo and Cialalaka and other local- 
ities in Shoa, as well as from Auasc on the Italo-Ethiopian frontier (Salvadori, 1912). The U.S. 
National Museum has specimens from the Amssi Plateau. Blanford (1870), and Ogilvie-Grant and 
Reid (1901) have recorded it from the highlands: A. D. Smith (Sharpe, 1895) and Peel (1900) found 
it at Sheik Mohammed in western Somaliland, and von Erlanger (1905) states that it is especially 
common and breeds between Ginir and Addis-Ababa and on the Maki River as far as Addis-Ababa. 
But the species seems in this region to be confined to Abyssinia. I find no records for the Sudan nor 
for either British or Italian Somaliland proper. 

Farther south it is common and presumably breeds on the Toro Lakes, Uganda (V. van Someren, 
1916) ; and is common also in British East Africa (Horsbrugh, 1912; etc.) whence it has been recorded 
for Lake Naivasha at altitudes up to 2000 meters and where it was found at Kagio, Kutu and at 
Kenia, breeding at altitudes of 2700 meters (Lonnberg, 1912). It is apparently com- Africa 

mon also in former German East Africa where it has been found at Iringa (Reiche- 
now, 1898), while from Victoria Nyanza it has been recorded by Reichenow (1894). Sassi (1912) 
found it in the Urundi region and Emin Pasha (1891) met with it at Bukoba on the west shore 
of the lake. Johnston (1886) has recorded the species for KOimandjaro where it was found as 
high up as 11,000 feet. What the status of the species may be to the west of the lake region 
it is very difficult to say. Very likely it occurs throughout Congo Free State, for Johnston 
(1884) states that he found it at Stanley Pool and at suitable places far up the Congo ^QjjgQ 
River, while Neave (1910) has recorded it for the Katanga, Bangweolo and Kalung- 
wisi regions, up to 4200 feet, in the southeastern Congo. In Portuguese West Africa it is, how- 
ever, a rare bird, having to my knowledge been recorded only from Huilla and Caconda in the 
interior (Barboza de Bocage, 1877-81). Andersson (1872) did not meet with it in former German 
West Africa and I believe it has never yet been found there; so that at best the species must be 
regarded as very rare on the west coast north to the Congo. Rochebrune’s (1883-85) statement 
that it is rare in Senegambia and that specimens have been taken north to the 
lower Gambia, requires further confirmation. In Rhodesia and the other British South 
African colonies it is, however, very abundant (Layard, 1875-84). Holub and von Pelzeln (1882) 




met with it at Shesheke on the upper Zambesi, but in northern Rhodesia and even in Mashonaland 
it does not appear to be very common (G. A. K. Marshall, 1900; Neave, 1910; Shelley, 1882). 
For Nyassaland we have only Whyte’s (Shelley, 1894) record for the Palombi River which leads 
me to suppose that the species is rather rarer north of 20° south latitude. Still it is common in 
Bechuanaland on Lake Ngami and the Botletle River (Andersson, 1872) and at Nocana on the 
Okavango River (Fleck, 1894). In the Transvaal it is very common on the Wakker- 
stroom (W. L. Sclater, 1912a) and breeds on the Potchefstroom (Horsbrugh, 1912). 
It has also been recorded from Pretoria (F. Oates, 1881). 

Nowhere, however, does the species appear to be so common as in the region south of the Orange 
River. In the west, though he did not find it in German West Africa, Andersson (1872) remarks that 
it is abundant south of the Orange, and its abundance in Cape Colony is also well attested by others. 
The South African Museum has specimens from the Cape and Mossel Bay division, and Layard 
(1875-84) has recorded its nesting in Vogel Vlei in Paarl, and Zoetendal’s Vlei in Bredasdorp. Ac- 
cording to Brown it is fairly common at Port Elizabeth, but Wood states that it is rare at East 
South Africa Stark and Sclater, 1906). This is not unexpected considering that the 

species is distinctly a fresh-water bird and is therefore rare on the coasts. Trevelyan 
(fide Stark and Sclater, 1906) has recorded it for King William’s Town where it used to be abun- 
dant but is now growing rare (Clifton, 1888). It is not common on the St. John’s River, according 
to Shortridge (1904). Holub and von Pelzeln (1882) found it near Taungs, West Griqualand. In 
East Griqualand the species breeds (Horsbrugh, 1912) and is very common at Matatiele (C. G. 
Davies, 1908). It is found also in Natal, though not on the coast (Horsbrugh, 1912). Buckley (1874) 
and Barratt (1876) have recorded it from the Mooi River in this Colony, while the Woodwards 
(1899) found it at Weenen and Maritzburg, and Butler, Feilden and Reid (1882) in the Newcastle 
district. T. Ayres (1880) states that it breeds in Natal. On the west side of the Drakensbergen 
the species is very common in Basutoland (Murray, fide Stark and Sclater, 1906) and has been 
found in the Orange River Colony on the Rhenoster River (T. Ayres, 1880) and breeding in the 
Harrismith district (Sparrow, Stark and Sclater, 1906). Hamilton (ibid.) has recorded it from 
Vredefort Road Station in the same Colony. 


Haunts. One of the commonest and, to the South African sportsman, most impor- 
tant ducks, this species is found all over the open country, on vleis (lakes) and rivers. 
Like other South African ducks they come and go with the rains. On the Orange 
and Limpopo Rivers they are found in reedy ponds, salt lakes and reedy streams 
(Holub and von Pelzeln, 1882). Farther north, in the Kilimandjaro region they are 
found at elevations as high as 11,000 feet (Johnston, 1886), and in the Masai 
country they have been found up to 6500 feet (G. A. Fischer, 1884). In the mountain 
streams of southern Abyssinia, and about Lake Tana it is a very common bird (von 
Erlanger, 1905; von Heuglin, 1873; etc.) and is found at altitudes of from 8000 to 
9000 feet. 

Wariness. By nature the Yellow-bill does not seem to be a wary bird, but in 
South Africa, where it has been persecuted a good deal, it is said to exhibit “all the 
wariness and caution of its race” (Layard, 1875-84). xAyres (Layard, 1875-84) 
says that in Natal he frequently found them lying so close in the rushes, where the 
water was about knee-deep, as to allow themselves to be almost trodden on. Most 

Map 36. Distribution of African Yellow-billed Duck (^Anas undulata) 



other observers describe them as more tame than other ducks, such as Anas sparsa or 
Casarca ferruginea (Ogilvie-Grant, 1900; Buckley, 1874). In Abyssinia the Gallas 
are said sometimes to kill them with sticks shaped like Australian boomerangs 
(Ogilvie-Grant, 1900). 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Flight. On land and in the water its appearance is 
absolutely MaUardlike, although it has a way of exposing the very beautiful specu- 
lum rather more than most true ducks do. Its style of flight, so far as I know, is in- 
distinguishable from that of the Mallard, but when on the wing it is said to appear 
bluish in color (Ayres, in Layard, 1875-84). It is apparently not usually found in 
large flocks, but like the other Mallardlike ducks it stays in pairs or in small com- 
panies of from six to twenty (W. L. Sclater, 1912a; et al.). 

Voice. The notes of the Yellow-bill are indistinguishable from those of the 
Mallard (Rogeron, 1903; Horsbrugh, 1912). I can And no description of the tra- 
cheal bulb. 

Food. No good observations as to the stomach-contents are to be found in the 
literature, but a few writers have remarked their feeding on a vegetable diet. When 
the grain is ripe they flight to the grain-fields in the evening, returning to the water 
to wash and rest (Horsbrugh, 1912). 

CouETSHiP AND NESTING. The breeding season in South Africa falls mostly in 
October (Layard, 1875-84). Nevertheless nests have been found in April (Sparrow, 
1907). Over the rest of its range the season is exceedingly irregular. In the Transvaal 
the birds were just commencing to moult in March and April, and five quite young 
birds were found on April 4 (W. L. Sclater, 1912a). In East Griqualand broods have 
been found in April (Horsbrugh, 1912). In the Mt. Kenia region (British East 
Africa) a female with young in down was found at a high altitude on March 27 
(Lonnberg, 1912). For East Africa in general it certainly breeds from Eebruary to 
May (V. van Someren, 1922), and probably at other times. In southern Abyssinia 
von Erlanger (1905) found it breeding in June, while in the Lake Tana region, 
according to von Heuglin (1873) it breeds in November and December, and full- 
grown young were found in March and April. 

Heinroth (1911), the only observer who mentions the display, says that it closely 
resembles that of the Mallard. Pursuit flights just like those seen in so many northern 
ducks have been noticed during the breeding season. The drakes, says C. G. Davies 
(1911), pursue the ducks in the air, sometimes circling round to a great height, “the 
female turning and dodging in every direction, and quacking loudly.” 

Very little is recorded as to the location of the nest. The birds usually select the 



dry veldt at a distance from the water, and generally in dense brush (Layard, 
1875-84). That such positions are not always chosen is evident from Ayres (in 
Layard, 1875-84) who says that they build a substantial nest of flags among high 
rushes, and well elevated above the water. Masterson (1916) notices that the nest 
is made of rushes, grass and aquatic weeds and is usually placed in the rushes or 
reeds growing in or along the side of the water; but he once found a nest in long 
grass on a hillock about three miles away from water. 

Layard (1875-84) gives the normal clutch as six, but I am certain that this must 
be less than the average. Stark and Sclater (1906) place it at six to nine and as many 
as eleven have been reported. Rogeron (1903) bred many in captivity. He found 
them very abundant layers and reports that the clutch numbers ten to twelve. 
Closer observation will probably show that they do not differ much from the Mallard 
in this respect. The eggs are elliptical, smooth and vary in color from very pale 
brown to creamy or greenish white (Stark and Sclater, 1906; Masterson, 1916). The 
length of the incubation period seems to be unknown, but is almost certainly 
around twenty-six or twenty-seven days. 

Status. Recent writers still speak of the Yellow-bill as a very common bird, 
especially in South Africa, though the gradual settlement of the country unques- 
tionably results in local diminution. As long ago as 1888 it was described as rare 
where formerly common about King William’s Town (Clifton, 1888). The tend- 
ency of many of the great South African lakes to dry up must eventually lessen its 
numbers. On the other hand the sportsmen of South Africa are far more interested 
in close seasons than they used to be and are creating laws which are becoming 

Damage. From its habit of feeding on grain it may occasionally do some damage 
to crops. 

Food Value. The flesh of this duck is described as excellent in all parts of its 
range, even when the birds are moulting (Buckley, 1874; T. Ayres, 1880; Ogilvie- 
Grant and Reid, 1901; G. H. Gurney, 1909; et al.). In his book on South Africa 
Bryden (1893) expatiates at length on the splendid condition and flavor of its meat 
when shot in the Botletle River country. 

Hunt. The use of boomerang-like sticks by the natives of Abyssinia has already 
been referred to. At Vogel Vlei in Cape Colony the farmers of the neighborhood used 
to assemble each year for a grand hunt after these ducks and the Red-billed Teal 
{Anas erythrorhyncha) . The shooters were posted at different parts of this long 
sheet of water, hidden among the rushes and the bush-covered rocks which jut out 



here and there in the shallows. Men were then sent about with long Cape wagon- 
whips with which they kept up a continual cracking noise nearly as loud as the report 
of a gun. This kept the birds flying to and fro over the ambuscades. 

Behavior in Captivity. The Yellow-bill was first introduced into England by 
the Earl of Derby, and was obtained by the London Gardens at the sale of the 
Knowsley collection in 1851. It bred first in 1859 and several times between that 
date and 1870. The young birds hatched in late May or June (P. L. Sclater, 1880). 
They were also hatched in the Rotterdam Gardens about 1870 (van Bemmelen, 
1872). It has bred freely in continental gardens and was often purchased for £4 per 
pair. Mr. Blaauw told me that he reared it on his estate at Gooilust, Holland, and 
I saw a fine stock there in the spring of 1922. The first winter after he got them from 
Africa he kept them indoors, but after that he found them sufficiently hardy to 
winter in his ponds. 

They have never been imported into America so far as I am aware. 

The Yellow-bill adapts itself admirably to life in confinement. It becomes very 
tame and breeds, according to Rogeron (1903), even more readily than the wild 
Mallard. In its relations to the female and to other males it is like the true Mallard. 
In the spring the male seeks out females of its own kind and of the Mallard indis- 
criminately. If the two species are not kept separate, crossings are inevitable. They 
will not use nesting boxes, but nest on the ground like wild birds. The clutch 
Rogeron found to be from ten to twelve. The birds were not particular about 
their food and in addition to the usual diet fed on acorns. Mr. Hubert D. Astley had 
a pair which nested for a second time in 1922, bringing out a late brood in Novem- 
ber, an unusual occurrence. They seem to be especially hardy and long-lived. One 
specimen, hatched and raised on Rogeron’s place, lived to be eighteen years old, 
and was given full use of its wings for several years, while in the London Gardens 
one lived to be 26 years and 7 months old, though the average of eight birds was 
seven years. 

Hybrids. There are no wild hybrids recorded as far as I have learned. In 
captivity it has crossed freely with Mallard and African Red-billed Ducks {Anas 
erythrorhyncha) , more rarely with the Spot-bill {Anas pcedlorhyncha) and also with 
the American Black Duck {Anas rubripes) (Poll, 1911). I saw a live specimen of this 
last cross in Mr. Blaauw’s gardens in 1922. 


(Plate 25) 


Anas sparsa Eyton, Monograph Anatidae, p. 142, 1838. 

Anas flavirostris G. R. Gray {nec Smith), List Birds British Mus., vol. 3, p. 137, 1844. 
Anas leucostigma Riippell, Systematische Uebersicht d. Vogel Nord-Ost-Afrikas, 
pp. 130, 138, pi. 48, 1845. 

Anas guttata Lichtenstein, Nomenclator Avium Mus. Berolini, p. 101, 1854. 

Vernacular Names 

English: African Black Duck, Black River Duck, Speckled Duck, White-spotted 
Duck, White-barred Black Duck. 

German: Smith’s Ente. Dutch: Stippeleende. 

Zulu: Edada. Zambesi: Tunta. 


Adult Male: General color very dark brown to black both above and below, except the sides of the 
head and neck which are lighter and streaked with black. Scapulars and tertials have several irregu- 
lar rows of white spots, which also appear as four irregular buff or white bands on the tail. Occa- 
sionally the mantle has one or two white spots, and whitish bands may appear on the breast and 
abdomen. Wing with a blunt carpal spur. A metallic speculum bordered in front by a broad black 
band and a prominent white band, posteriorly by a wide black, and a narrow white band. Under 
wing-coverts white and black; axillars white. 

Iris dark chestnut. Bill black in South African specimens, or probably dark lead-blue in life 
(Blaauw, 1917). In East African specimens it is orange with a black saddle-mark on the culmen 
below nostrils, and with a black nail. Sometimes only the tip and base of culmen are orange. Feet 
orange with webs black. 

Wing 239-256 mm.; bill 43-47; tarsus 41-47. 

Adult Female: Similar to the male but somewhat smaller (Salvador!, 1895). 

Immature Plumages: Mr. Blaauw (1917) who bred this species from South African examples de- 
scribes the developing young as follows: At ten days old the bills of the chicks had become bluish 
lead-color and the birds had grown very rapidly. At the age of twenty-four days the first feathers 
appeared, tail-feathers first, and then the shoulder (scapular) feathers. When fully feathered they 
were very similar to adults, but more brownish, and the whole under side silvery white. Upper side, 
head and neck excepted, but including tail-coverts, with a number of buff spots on edges to the 
feathers. No white spots. Blue wing-bar with its white and black edgings present, but duller in 
color. Upper mandible blue; nail black. Under side of under mandible flesh-color. At about seven 
weeks the black saddle-mark on the bill apjjears, but is not prominent until later. Toward the end of 



August (at about three months old) the buff spots on upper side begin to change to white. At the 
end of September the birds had begun to moult, and a month later adult plumage was complete. 

Young in Down; Differs from the young of the Mallard as follows (Blaauw, 1917) : upper side and 
band around breast, which does not quite meet in front, black. Five or six yellow spots on each side 
of the body. Sides of the head yellow, with a black line through the eye, and a second one a little 
lower down. Under side white, slightly tinged with yellow. Bill black; legs and toes pale dusky 
yellow in front, webs and hind part of legs dusky. 

The specimens I have seen are very dark above and buff color below. There is a great deal of dark 
pattern below the eye, consisting of two ill-defined face-stripes, one running through the eye and 
one from culmen to aural region. There are two fight spots above the eye, one in front of it and one 
behind it. The wing, scapular, side and rump spots are the same as in many other ducks. 



The African Black Duck is found over essentially the same range as the Yellow-billed Duck {Anas 
uniulata) but it is much more rare and more confined to streams and hill coimtry. It is found at 
various times of the year throughout its range but there is some indication that at least some of the 
birds leave the northern and southern extremities of the range and draw nearer the equator when the 
weather grows colder. The northernmost limit of its occurrence is Abyssinia where it is found in the 
north about Lake Tana, and where it breeds (von Heuglin, 1873). Salvadori (1884, 1888) has re- 
corded it from Sululta and from Galla Galan (Shoa) and this region seems to be its chief habitat in 
the north. According to Ogilvie-Grant (1900) it is to be met with almost exclusively 
on the high plateaux of central Abyssinia, but other writers speak of it as more com- 
mon in the southern districts. Thus both Salvadori (1912) and von Erlanger (1905) record it from 
the Arussi-Gallaland region as occurring on the mountain streams at altitudes of 2000 meters and 
even 2600 meters. Von Erlanger (1905) in fact states that he met with it only at altitudes of 2600 
meters and above, and that it was common there. He has also reported it from Tumadu in the 
Niam-Niam region. According to Ogilvie-Grant and Reid (1901) it has been found also near 
Myeesa, southern Abyssinia. There is no indication of its occurring in the low country of eastern 
Abyssinia or in Somaliland, nor does it appear to range westward to the Nile in this latitude. 

I have been unable to find many records of its occurrence in British East Africa beyond Hinde’s 
(1900) remark that the speeies may be regularly seen in Masailand from October to January, and 
R. B. Sharpe’s note (1900) of a pair taken on Lake Hohnel, west slope of Mt. Kenia at an altitude of 
13,000 feet in September, 1899. Unquestionably it inhabits the smaller lakes and East 
rivers of the Province (V. van Someren, 1922). It has been reported from the Buddu, Africa 
Toro and Ruwenzori regions of Uganda, where it has been met with at altitudes up to 12,000 
feet and it breeds in the Mubuku Valley district (V. van Someren, 1916; Ogilvie-Grant, 1910). In 
former German East Africa it was taken at Kibonota on Kilimandjaro at 1400 meters (Sjostedt, 
1910) and Stierling (Reichenow, 1898) found it at Iringa. How far west it may extend beyond the 
lakes I am unable to say. Mr. J. P. Chapin {in litt.) states that he took specimens but foimd the 
species rare on the Ituri River, northeastern Congo Free State and the fact that specimens have 
been taken in the Cameroon (February, 1908) at Bamenda and at another locality 
200 miles inland (Reichenow, 1910, 1911) indicates the possibility of its extending 
west through the entire Congo basin. Even in localities where regularly found the birds are so rare 
and shy that they may well have been overlooked by the few explorers who have been through 
central Africa. But at any rate this duck must be very rare indeed west of the lakes and north of 
the Zambesi. 

In Rhodesia the species has been taken near Victoria (Sclater, fide Stark and Sclater, 1906) and 



Kirk (1864) states that it is a not common breeding bird on the Zambesi. Mouritz (1915) has re- 
Rhodesia forded its breeding in the Matojipo district of southern Rhodesia. It has been found a 
few times in Portuguese East Africa, on the Goronzoga River (W. L. Sclater, 1912a), at 
Somba (Shelley, 1894a) and in Gazaland, where it is the commonest duck in the uplands, especially 
at Jihu, on the upper Buzi and on the Umswirizwi (Swynnerton, 1908). W. L. Sclater (1912a) has 
recorded it from Tambarara, Gazaland. I find no evidence of its occurrence in southern Rhodesia 
but in Bechuanaland it has been met with on the Botletle River (Bryden, 1893). It ap- 
pears to be of somewhat more frequent occurrence in the Transvaal, where it breeds 
on the Potchefstroom (Horsbrugh, 1912) and it is said to be the commonest duck on the Olifant 
River (Atmore, Reichenow, 1900). Buckley (1874) has recorded it from Pretoria and T. Ayres 
(1876, p. 433) states that it has been met with on the Potchefstroom and at Lydenburg. It is known 
also from Kaffir Lake in the Orange River Colony {Kiehs, fide Reichenow, 1900). In Basutoland 



it is said to be common on the mountain streams (Murray, Stark and Sclater, 

1906) and Layard (1875-84) states that it breeds at Maseru. The species breeds also 
in Natal, on the Mgoye Hills in Zululand (W. L. Sclater, 1912a), on the Umkusi River in Zululand 
(R. B. and J. D. S. Woodward, 1899) and very likely also in more southerly districts. It has been 
found at Durban (T. Ayres, 1880), on the Umbile River near Pinetown (Stark, ^de Stark and 
Sclater, 1906), at Maritzburg (Buckley, 1874), on the Ingagane River at Newcastle (Reide, fide 
Stark and Sclater, 1906) and on the Mooi River (T. Ayres, 1880). 

Although widely distributed in Cape Colony, the present species seems to be everywhere rare and 
is met with only in small numbers, usually only a couple at a time. Indeed C. H. T. Whitehead (1903) 
Cape states that it is common on the Orange River, but this is exceptional. It has been found 

Colony breeding on the Buffalo River near King William’s Town (Trevelyan, ^de Stark and 

Sclater, 1906; Pym, ibid.). In the east it is rare on the streams about Matatiele, East Griqualand (C. 
G. Davies, 1908) and it is known also from St. John’s River, Pondoland (Shortridge, 1904). Victorin 
{fide Stark and Sclater, 1906) has reported it from Knysna, and Rickard {fide Stark and Sclater, 
1906) from Port Elizabeth. The British Museum has a specimen from Grahamstown. Seimund {fide 
Stark and Sclater, 1906) found it at Deelfontein, Bradshaw {ibid.) on the Orange River near Uping- 
ton, C. H. T. Whitehead (1903) at Aliwal, and Holub and von Pelzeln (1882) on the Harts River near 
Taungs. It is probably to be found throughout the course of the Orange, though not in the desert 
areas to the north. On the west coast it has been found in former German West Africa along the 
course of the Great Fish River, Namaqualand; and Andersson (1872), who met with it in this region, 
is inclined to think that it is not very uncommon there during the rains. It was also found at Quin- 
dumbo, in Angola (Barboza de Bocage, 1877-81). 


Haunts. The African Black Duck, not a very characteristic species of the genus 
Anas, is quite different in its habits from the Yellow-bill {Anas undulata) though it 
inhabits the same general region. It is usually found on the rapid streams of hilly 
districts. In South Africa, however, it is common at times on reed-covered, flowing 
waters in rather low-lying country, and is seldom seen on stagnant waters (Ilolub 
and von Pelzeln, 1882). C. G. Davies (1911) tells us that it seldom visits the lieis 
except when the rivers are flooded by heavy rains. Almost everywhere it is a solitary 
species, found only in small numbers and rarely seen. Layard (1875-84) considers it 
“ solitary and shy in its habits, frequenting rivers, under the banks of which it con- 
ceals itself during the day.” In Natal it is the characteristic duck of rocky streams 

Map 37. Distribution of African Black Duck {Anas sparsa) 

Sporadic records indicated by crosses (X) 




f H 

r » 



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t.' f 

**' i. 

7 •■■;? 



t , 


,, ,1. ( '■ ;' t, /'|t ' 

7^ ■ 

i/' i . 

. 5 

■* *■• 



,* '' 

■ •*, M, 


■?;. .^'■ 



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, V . , iA> 



(J. H. Gurney, 1859; Finsch and Hartlaub, 1870; C. G. Davie's, 1908). Farther 
north, in the Kilimandjaro region, it has been found at altitudes up to 4300 feet 
(Sjostedt, 1910), and on the rivers of the Ruwenzori Range to 12,000 feet (Ogilvie- 
Grant, 1910). In British East Africa it may be found on any small swamp or river 
after the rains have begun, from October to January (Hinde, 1900). On the central 
Abyssinian plateau it was not found on the larger rivers that teemed with Yellow- 
bills and other ducks but on the streams (Ogilvie-Grant, 1900). Von Erlanger (1905) 
found them common on these mountain streams in pairs at altitudes of over 7900 
feet; and several times he saw them at considerable distances from streams, on the 
alpine meadows, where cattle were grazing. Chapin (MS.) found it a very rare bird 
on the forest brooks of the Ituri River district (northeastern Congo). 

WTien Mr. F. E. Blaauw (1917a) was in South Africa in the spring of 1914 he only 
once succeeded in seeing this duck. In following the course of a mountain stream in 
the Zwarte Bergen on his way to the Congo caves, he flushed a duck which probably 
had young ones. The bird flew a short distance only and then kept anxiously looking 

"Wariness. Though not always described as a wild bird, the African Black Duck 
it certainly shy, retiring and more or less nocturnal; and owing to its ability to skulk 
off into concealment its presence is often overlooked (Mouritz, 1915). In Abyssinia 
on the high mountain meadows it was so shy and cautious that it could not be ap- 
proached within shot (von Erlanger, 1905). 

Daily Movements. In the evening it flights just after sundown like most other 
ducks, returning by the same route at dawn (W. L. Sclater, 1912a). 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Flight. There is every indication that this species 
does not conform in its habits to those of the true surface-feeding ducks, for it is an 
excellent diver (von Heuglin, 1873). When it has moulted the flight-feathers, it is 
said to depend for its safety entirely on diving and hiding under the river-banks. 
At this it is very expert, and can with difficulty be seared from its concealment 
(Layard, 1875-84). Blaauw’s (1917a) eaptive birds, whieh seemed to him more 
allied to the Gadwall than to the Mallardlike ducks, were very expert divers, almost 
rivalling the true diving dueks in this respect. 

It is said to rise somewhat heavily when disturbed (Stark and Sclater, 1906) but to 
have a swift, straight flight when under way (W. L. Sclater, 1912a). Aeeording to 
von Heuglin (1873) the flight is hasty, noisy and whistling, but this evidently refers 
to their rising when flushed. The birds are almost always found in pairs, except for a 
time after the breeding season, when the young are still with the female (W. L. 
Sclater, 1912a). No observers have noted large flocks. Family parties follow the 
streams in close formation (von Heuglin, 1873). 



Association with other Species. The kind of country it inhabits and its 
solitary nature make association with other species of ducks purely accidental. 

Voice. There are no satisfactory published descriptions of the voice. Several 
observers have described it as a loud quack or as “ resembling that of the Mallard ” 
(Stark and Sclater, 1906; W. L. Sclater, 1912a). Blaauw (1917) has given a very 
different idea. Although he does not write about it in detail he says it is not at all 
like the voice of the typical Mallard-like ducks. He described it to me as a low 
sort of whistle (not at all like a Widgeon’s) from the male, and an ordinary quack 
from the female. I never heard it but once myself and this was in the London Gar- 
dens in May. The female at that time was giving an occasional subdued or obscure 
quack. The male had a sort of wheezing note but I could not hear it very well 
among a lot of other water-fowl. On the whole, though, the notes were more 
Mallard-like than I had supposed that they would be. 

Food. Von Heuglin (1873) observes that in Abyssinia these birds drop down on 
the barley-fields to seek worms or snails or to pick fresh grass-sprouts. Some of their 
food is obtained in shallow water and some by diving. T. Ayres (1880) found the 
whole oesophagus of some specimens crammed with grass seeds. 

Courtship and Nesting. In South Africa the Black Duck breeds over a long 
period, from about August to December, but eggs have been found as late as Feb- 
ruary near King William’s Town (Stark and Sclater, 1906), and in July near Pre- 
toria (L. E. Taylor, 1906). On the Zambesi, Kirk (1864) found young in March. He 
says that the adults appear during the rains to breed, and leave at the end of April. 
In southern Rhodesia they have been noted breeding in June (Mouritz, 1915). A 
brood was found in January on Ruwenzori at an altitude of 10,000 feet (Ogilvie- 
Grant, 1910) and it undoubtedly breeds throughout the year in the tropical regions, 
though there are no data to corroborate this statement. At the northern extremity 
of its range, in Abyssinia, it nests in the spring. After spending the winter in the 
low country a few pairs break away in March and go to the pools and rush-over- 
grown hollows as well as to standing pools in the mountain streams (von Heuglin, 
1873). Von Erlanger (1905) found birds about to breed early in February (altitude 
2700 meters). 

So few nests have been described that it is impossible to make a general statement 
as to the locality usually chosen. It would not be surprising if the birds were found 
to nest in hollows of decayed trees or in nests of other species. Mr. Bowker found a 
nest on the Caledon River, Basutoland, placed in a mass of drift in an overhanging 
willow tree, about fifteen feet from the ground and six feet from the water, in a 
hollow of the rotten wood under the wrack (Layard, 1875-84) ; and a nest was found 
in a somewhat similar position on the Buffalo River near King William’s Town 



(Stark and Sclater, 1906). At Irene, near Pretoria, a pair nested on an islet in the 
middle of a “dam,” concealed among some rushes and built on the ground about two 
feet above the water. 

The clutch is often small, but as many as eleven have been noted. According to 
Blaauw (1917) the eggs are rather large, elongated and of a pale-yellow color with 
much gloss. They measure 57 by 42.5 mm. (Layard, 1875-84). Blaauw hatched 
the eggs under a hen on the twenty-fifth day. The young are said to remain with 
the parents for some time after they are hatched (Woodwards, in Stark and Sclater, 
1906), and it is probable that as with the Sheldrakes the pairs remain together 
throughout the year. 

Status. The status of this duck has probably not changed materially since the 
days of the earlier explorers. Although well distributed it can hardly be called a 
plentiful species anywhere. 

Enemies. Horsbrugh (1912) mentions the large monitor lizards {Varanus), 
which swarm on the rivers, as destroying many eggs and young of this and other 

Food Value. A note by Atmore (in Layard, 1875-84) in which he describes the 
African Black Duck as “delicious eating,” is the only direct information on this 
subject that I have found. 

Hunt. Swynnerton (1908) says the natives snare them in Gazaland. Nothing 
else has been recorded. 

Behavior in Captivity. Although the African Black Duck is apparently kept 
rather commonly in South African Gardens, and is said to be easily tamed and to 
bear captivity well (Stark and Sclater, 1906; Swynnerton, 1908; Sharpe, 1904), it 
does not appear to have been introduced into Europe until a very recent date. 
Blaauw (1917) has given a full and very interesting account of a pair which he 
brought back from Natal in 1914. In the spring of the following year the birds be- 
came very quarrelsome with the other ducks, so that he had to isolate them. They 
made no attempt to breed. Toward the end of April, 1916, the female began to lay 
in a small box placed among the reeds over the water. She laid six eggs, which were 
buried in an ample layer of down. The eggs were taken from her and given to a ban- 
tam hen which hatched them on the twenty-fifth day (May 29). The ducklings were 
very active from the first and fed on ant larvae and any insects they could catch. 
They were all successfully reared. The old female continued to incubate the eggs of 
an Australian Black Duck {Anas superciliosa) that had been given her. Each time 
she left them in search of food the male kept her company as long as she was about. 



A few days before the eggs hatched the male moulted his flight feathers and from 
that moment kept to himself, rejoining the female and her foster children only after 
the moult was completed. The birds dived and took food from the bottom of the 
water. An excellent plate showing the young feeding is annexed to Mr. Blaauw’s 

I saw a fine stock of these ducks at Mr. Blaauw’s place in 1922, nearly all the 
increase from the original pair. They have been successfully kept in London for a 
number of years and a pair or two recently reached this country. 


There is a diflFerence in the color of the bill between South African and East African examples, and 
this has resulted in the separation of a northern race. In the small series available for comparison 
this race appears to be valid. Two males and a female collected by J. P. Chapin in the Ituri Forest 
of the upper Congo have the bills “pinkish gray or brownish pink” according to a letter from 
Mr. Chapin, and presumably these belong to the same race as those from East Africa. 


Characters: Bill dark lead-blue with black saddle-mark and black nail, and a small yellow area 
at the base of culmen. 

Range: South Africa; northern limits not defined. 


Anas leucostigma Riipjjell, Systematische TJebersicht d. Vogel Nord-Ost-.Afrikas, pp. 130, 138, 
pi. 48, 1845. 

Characters: Bill yellow with black saddle-mark. Congo Forest sjDecimens said to have the bills 
“pinkish gray” or “brownish pink” (Chapin, in litt.). 

Range: East and northeast Africa, across to the upjDer Congo and the Cameroun; rare in the western 
parts of its range. 


(Plate 25) 


Anas xanthorhyncha Roch and E. Newton {nec Forster), Ibis, ser. 1, vol. 5, p. 174, 

Dafila erythrorhyncha P. L. Sclater {nec Gmelin), Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1863, 

p. 165. 

Anas melleri P. L. Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1864, p. 487, pi. 34. 

Anas moreli Grandidier, Rev. et Mag. de Zool., ser. 2, vol. 19, pp. 88, 255, 1867. 
Anas mascarina Vinson, Mem. Soc. Acclimat. de I’lle Reunion, 1868, p. 5. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Meller’s Duck. 

Madagascan: Angaka, Akaka, Akakamainty, Harki. 


Adult Male: General color reddish; the feathers brown in the middle and margined with reddish; 
head and neck with narrow dusky streaks, each feather margined with reddish ; feathers of the back 
with some narrow irregular reddish bars; speculum glossy green, bounded anteriorly and posteriorly 
by two velvety-black bands, the anterior one at the tip of the greater wing-coverts; a narrow whitish 
band at the tip of the secondaries ; before the anterior black band there is also a narrow dull-reddish 
band; tertials velvety brown, darker on the outer web; under wing-coverts and axillars white 
(Salvador!, 1895). 

“BUI black (?); irides sienna-brown; feet fleshy color” (Sclater, fide Salvador!, 1895). 

Wing 240-260 mm.; culmen 58; tarsus 38-45. 

Adult Female : Similar to the male. 

Young: Has a redder tinge, almost rusty, on the edges of the feathers of the lower parts (Salvador!). 


Although it has been introduced on Mauritius the present species originally was found in Madagascar 
only. It appears to be quite common there, especially in the interior (Milne-Edwards and Grandidier, 
1876—81). StUl, specimens have been taken on all coasts: on the east at Tamatave (Roch and New- 
ton, 1863), on the northwest at Bombetok Bay, and on the southwest at Tulear (Milne-Edwards 
and Grandidier, 1876-81). It is common at Lake Alaotra in the northern interior (F. R. Wulsin 
specimens). On Mauritius the species was introduced about 1850, and though Sclater (fide Hartlaub, 
1877) states that it breeds abundantly there at Mare aux Vacoas, Captain Meinertzhagen (1912) has 
recently reported that on the whole, it had increased only very slowly in the sixty years preceding 




Little is known of this bird beyond what is summarized by Milne-Edwards and 
Grandidier (1876-81). They speak of the duck as inhabiting chiefly the swamps and 
morasses of the interior of Madagascar, where it finds the aquatic animals and 
young shoots or grain on which it feeds. On the coasts it appears to be more 
rare in spite of the numerous lagoons and water courses. The eggs are yellowish in 
color, measuring 42 by 59 mm. The native names Angaka and Akaka are said to be 

Eggs in the British Museum are of a rich cream-color, blunt and oval in form and 
smooth, with a fair amount of gloss (E. W. Oates, 1902). 

Mr. F. R. Wulsin, collecting for the Museum of Comparative Zoology, in 1915, 
secured nine specimens with the help of native boys at the southeast end of Lake 
Alaotra and on the Gahabe River in the same general region. The country there, 
so IVIr. Wulsin tells me, was very swampy with enormous quantities of rushes. 
The low ground was thoroughly water-soaked and partially flooded; not a 
shallow lake free of vegetation. His boys got nine in two and a half days, 
shooting the ducks sitting so they could not have been very wild. He also thinks 
that this species cannot be persecuted overmuch at present for there are not a great 
many native hunters in Madagascar. The few ducks that are taken are probably shot 
from or near the shore and not from boats. 

Behavior in Captivity, A specimen of this rare species was presented to the 
London Zoological Gardens by W. H. Sharland in 1894 (Hubbard, 1907). It mated 
with a Mallard and the hybrids produced in 1904 proved fertile when mated with 
other complex hybrids containing strains of Mallard, Spot-bill, Australian and 
Pintail (Bonhote, 1907). 


(Plate 26) 


Anas specularis King, Zoological Journ,, vol. 4, p. 98, 1828. 

Anas chalcoptera Kittlitz, Mem. Acad. Imp. Sci. St. Petersbourg, vol. 2, p. 471, 1835. 

Vernacular Names 

English: White-faced Duck, White-marked Duck, Bronze-winged Teal or Duek. 
Spanish: Pato anteojillo, Pato de las cordilleras, Pato perro, Pato del rio, Pato del 


Adult Male: Head and neck dark brown, with a large patch between the eye and the bill white, 
and another large patch on the sides of the neck extending forward along throat and chin. This 
face-pattern shows considerable variation. Mantle dark brown, with lighter edges to the feathers; 
scapulars nearly black; whole under surface very similar to that of Anas cristata but the flank 
feathers differ in having large black spots. Lesser wing-coverts purplish black; a speculum, formed 
by nearly the whole length of the secondaries, bronzy green to copper color, bordered posteriorly by 
a black and a white band; primaries dark brown. Tertials purple-black; back, rump, upper tail- 
coverts and tail dark brown; under tail-coverts darker than abdomen. 

Iris black. Bill slate, almost plumbeous. Legs and feet orange; claws black at tips, webs blackish 
(Lane, 1897). 

Wing 267 mm.; bill 46; tarsus 45. 

Female: Similar to the male but duller (Salvador!, 1895). 

Young in Down: Upper parts brown; under parts, sides of the head, a band on the posterior edge of 
the wing joining another on the sides of the back, and a spot on each side of the rump whitish; a 
brown band from the eye to the occiput, and a second one across the cheeks (Salvador!). This ap- 
pears to be typical for the genus, but without a specimen it is not easy to judge. 


The known range of this duck has recently been considerably extended. It is primarily an Andean 
bird, resident in the central and southern parts of that chain. Schlegel (1866) lists a specimen in the 
Leyden Museum said to have been collected by D’Orbigny in Bolivia. In Chile the northernmost 
record seems to be that for Colchagua (L. Fraser, 1843). There are two specimens from Temuco, 
ChUe, in the British Museum, taken in April, 1910, and this must be near the northern limit of the 
range. Philippi (1868) gives Valdivia as the northern limit of its regular range and speaks of it as a 
rare bird in central Chile. Mr. Blaauw writes me that he saw it in 1911 on the edge of a stream that 
flowed into Lago Todos los Santos in central Chile. Lane (1897) has reported it from Rio Bueno and 



Rio Pilmaiguen, in the Andes south of Valdivia. The species was originally described from a speci- 
men taken by King (1828) in the Straits of Magellan. Since then Schalow (1898) has recorded it 
for Punta Arenas. There is no evidence of its presence on Tierra del Fuego. 

Until recently this duck has not been known to occur east of the Andes, though it is most common 
on the moimtain streams of that range. C. V. Burmeister (1888) first recorded it for the Andean 
region of central Patagonia, without mentioning any specific locality. Since then it has been found 
on Lago General Paz (extreme western Chubut) by Gerling (Dabbene, 1910) and on the Carren- 
le^s-fu River in western Chubut (Lynch Arribalzaga, 1902a). There are several specimens in the 
British Museum from Valle del Lago Blanco in Chubut. The Princeton Expedition to Patagonia 
apparently took no specimens but it is stated in the report (Scott and Sharpe, 1912) that the species 
may be found in central and southern Patagonia from the Rio Negro to the Straits. The La Plata 
Museum is said to have specimens from South Patagonia (Dabbene, 1914; Scott and Sharpe, 1912). 
Mr. Stuart Shipton of Concepcion, Tucuman, commander of H. M. S. Southampton, told Mr. J. 
L. Peters that he was having prepared for his collection five specimens he had shot on the coast of 
Patagonia. It must, however, be a very rare bird east of the Andean watershed lakes, judging by 
the few records and from what is known of its habits. Mr. Dabbene writes me (March, 1920) that 
“large flocks can be seen in the lake regions of southwest Argentina from Lago Nahuel Huapi (west- 
ern Rio Negro Province) toward the south.” The Museum of the University of California possesses 
two specimens taken at Barriloche, Nahuel Huapi, in March, 1912, and Mr. J. L. Peters, collecting 
for me, obtained a pair at Huanuluan on the upper Rio Negro (elevation 3100 feet). He tells me that 
the species was unknown to the natives of that district and that the birds must have been stragglers. 
I suspect that this is a rather local species and one rather closely confined to the lakes and streams 
of the eastern Andes. 


Nothing is known of the life-history of this rare bird beyond the fact that it is of 
a rather solitary nature, occurring usually in pairs, on rivers shaded by forests (L, 
Fraser, 1843) and very rarely in open marshy country frequented by other water- 
fowl. I think Dr. Dabbene must have been misinformed in writing me that large 
flocks may be found in the lake regions of southern Argentina (south of Lake 
Nahuel Huapi), though it may be that the birds come out of the woods to the lakes 
at certain seasons. Mr. Peters, who was at Lake Nahuel Huapi in the spring of 1921, 
on February 12, flushed four from a moist grassy spot in the delta of the Rio Niriguao. 
They flew over the beach and alighted on the lake. 

Lane (1897) always found the species near the banks of the rivers shaded by 
forests and never in fields or open marshes. He says that on these mountain streams 
it was the only species of duck which occurred. Nothing is known of the nesting 
habits of these birds, but the eggs are described as 57-62 mm. by 39-40 mm. in 
diameter (Schalow, 1898). 

Mr. Peters says the note is a low hoarse quack which presumably refers to the female. 

The trachea is 195 mm. long and bears in the male sex a left-sided, smooth, spher- 
ical bony box of moderate size. In length this structure is 16 mm. and in breadth 
14 mm. 

The first and apparently only specimen imported into Europe was received by the 

Map 38. Distribution of Bronze-winged Duck {Anas specularis) 
Sporadic records indicated by crosses ( X) 



London Zoological Society in 1881 (P. L. Sclater, 1881) and seems to have lived but 
eleven months (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). Mr. F. E. Blaauw saw two specimens in con- 
finement in a garden in Concepcion, Chile. 

The stomachs of the two which came in the Peters collection from Huanuluan in 
Rio Negro were kindly examined by the U.S. Biological Survey and the results are 
as follows. Both were from birds shot in mid-spring (October 20). In the first the 
percentage of animal matter was 10%, vegetable 90%, besides the usual gravel, etc. 
There were ground-up foliage and a few seeds of water-crowfoot {Batrachium) , 88 %; 
a few seeds of water-milfoil {Myriophyllum) and a rush {Scirpus americanus), 2%; 
remains of caddis larvae and Corixidae, 10%. The second stomach, which was also 
full, contained animal matter, 60%, vegetable 40% as follows. One seed of Pota- 
mogeton and foliage of the plant, 31%; numerous seeds of Myriophyllum, 5%; 14 
of Scirpus americanus, 1 of Batrachium and 1 unidentified, 4%. There were frag- 
ments of caddis larvae and cases and traces of other insects, 60%. 


(Plate 26) 


Anas cristata Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturaj, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 540, 1789. 
Tadorna cristata Stephens, General Zoology, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 77, 1824. 

Anas specularioides King, Zoological Journ., vol. 4, p. 98, 1828. 

Anas pyrrJiogastra Meyen, Nova Acta Acad. Leop. -Carol., Halle, vol. 16, suppl., 
p. 119, 1833. 

Dafila pyrogaster Eyton, Monograph Anatidse, p. 113, 1838. 

Anas tophyra Forster, Descriptiones Animaliuin, p. 340, 1844. 

Dafila pyrrhogastra Reichenbach, Synopsis Avium, Natatores, pi. 88, fig. 923, 1845. 
Dafila cristata Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 650, 1856. 
Lophonetta cristata Riley, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 27, p. 100, 1914. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Crested Duck, Antarctic Duck, Gray Duck. 

French: Milouin des Malouines. 

Spanish: Pato juyal, Pato juarjual, Pato crestado. 


Adult Male: Top of head dark gray, forehead, sides of head, and neck very light gray, dotted with 
blackish, the dots, however, being absent on chin and throat, which areas are almost pure white. 
A long occipital crest of gray feathers extends back along upper side of neck. All the lower parts pale 
fulvous to a rusty-brown color, with the breast, and sometimes the abdomen more or less spotted, 
or irregularly barred with darker tints. Mantle and scapulars brown, the feathers having grayish 
margins on the former region and dark tips on the latter region. Wing with a very beautiful coppery- 
red to metallic-green speculum, bounded posteriorly by a witle black, followed by a wide white band. 
Lesser wing-coverts uniform gray-brown. Under wing-coverts dark gray, axillars white. Primaries 
dark olive-brown. Rump and upper tail-coverts light gray, tail black, with metallic reflections. 
Under tail-coverts black. 

Iris reddish to brownish. Bill black above, flesh-color below. Legs and feet grayish (R. M. Beck, 
field notes). 

Wing 250-264 mm.; bill 39-44; tarsus 46-50. 

Weight 2g to 2| pounds (1.07 to 1.18 kilograms). 

Adult Female: Similar except for a shorter crest and smaller size. Colors of soft parts same. 

Wing 240-247 mm.; bill 39-42; tarsus 44-48. 

Weight about 0.5 pounds (0.22 kilograms) less than male. 

Plate 26 




Young in First Plumage; Very similar to adults, but lower abdomen much paler, the head without 
a crest, and tail shorter and more square, with the tips of the feathers blunt. 

Young in Down: Differ from the Mallard in having no striping on the face, with the bronm of the 
crown and face merging graduallj^ into the pure white of chin and throat. Whole upper side delicate 
gray-brown; under side immaculate, except for buffy stain on breast. White patches occur, as in the 
young of most ducks, on wings, scapulars, sides, and rump. 

Note: As Salvadori remarks, this is not a typical member of the genus Anas, the long pointed tail, 
crest and peculiar doi\Tiy young suggesting other relationships. 


This duck is a common species in western and southern South America, frequenting particularly the 
high Andes. Many observers have believed it migratory, but a survej" of the available dates soon 
shows that the birds are met with in both extremes of the range at the very same seasons, and the 
evidence also indicates that they breed throughout the area of occurrence. There is, however, good 
reason to suppose that they migrate vertically, and several investigators have pointed out that the 
birds are found at very high altitudes in the warm season, while during the cold months they frequent 
the lowlands and coast regions. 

The northernmost record for this duck seems to be that given by Taczanowski (1886) for Lake 
Junin and Salinas, Peru, altitude 14,000 feet. WTitely (P. L. Sclater and Salvin, 1876) who took 
specimens there, also met with the species at Tinta. It has been found also in Arequipa, 
southern Peru (Oustalet, 1891), at an altitude of 4000 meters. There is now sufficient 
evidence of its presence in the mountainous areas in western Bolivia. It was found 
there at Tamarope and CosapiUa, 4200 meters, and at Lake Poopo (Menegaux, 1909a). Eggs also 
have been taken in the Bolivian Andes (Scott and Sharpe, 1912). 

In Chile the species is apparently common. It is so recorded from Tarapaca (Lane, 1897; Philippi, 
1888). Farther south it has nested at Huasco and Sacaya (Lane, 1897) and it is known also from 
Santiago Province (Leybold, 1873). Many observers have recorded it for Chile in Qj^g 
general (Philippi, 1868; James, 1892; Quijada, 1910; etc.) and Coppinger (1883, p. 68) 
states that it is quite common in the south at Trinidad Channel. 

The Crested Duck is perhaps less common in the Argentine, excepting the Andean regions, but 
even so it has a wide distribution in that Republic. It has been found as far north as Jujuy and 
Salta Provinces at high altitudes (Bruch, 1904) and has been recorded for Tucuman ^gg^^ina 
from the Laguna de Cerro Pelado, oOOO meters (!) (Baer, 1904), for Tucuman City 
(Hartert and Venturi, 1909), for Lago Grande, 4300 meters (Hartert and Venturi, 1909) and from 
the whole Province, 4500 meters (Lillo, 1902) . Eggs were taken at Lago Grande, 4300 meters (Hart- 
ert and Venturi, 1909). The Princeton Patagonian Expedition (Scott and Sharpe, 1912) took 
specimens at Mt. Tigre, San Juan Province, and P. Gosse (1899) and Reed (1916) met with it in 
the Cordilleras of Mendoza. There is no evidence, however, of its occurrence in the lower eastern 
sections, in Gran Chaco or the districts west of the La Plata. But farther south in Patagonia it 
has been frequently seen. It is found at all seasons in eastern Patagonia (Oustalet, 1891) and has 
been recorded for Bahia (Dabbene, 1910). Farther west it breeds in Neuquen and also on Lago 
Nahuel Huapi in western Rio Negro (Venturi, Dabbene, 1910). Mr. J. L. Peters, collecting for 
me, thought it a not uncommon migrant in western Patagonia. The Princeton Expedition (Scott 
and Sharpe, 1912) found it in Chubut, and Oustalet (1891) states that it is met with in winter in 
southern Patagonia. 

On the Straits of Magellan this duck is quite common (Cunningham, 1871) and has been recorded 



from a great number of localities, of which those for Gregory Bay, Punta Arenas and Rio Pescado 
Straits of (Salvadori, 1900a) as well as Port Rosario, Cockle Cove, Tom Bay (Sharpe, 1881) and 

Magellan Elizabeth Island (Ridgway, 1890) are sufficiently representative. Some of these rec- 

ords are for the warm and some for the cold season, indicating that even so far south the species is 
Tierra del essentially resident. The same is true of Tierra del Fuego (Crawshay, 1907) where it 

Fuego is also quite common (Blaauw, 1916a; Dabbene, 1910; etc.). Mr. Rollo M. Beck 

brought together a very large series of these birds from southern Chile and Tierra del Fuego in 1914 
for the Brewster-Sanford collection, now in the American Museum of Natural History in New York. 

The Crested Duck is common also on both of the large islands and presumably on the smaller 
Falkland islands of the Falkland group (Abbott, 1861). Mr. W. S. Brooks, who visited these 

Islands islands recently, found it still abundant and breeding there, much as it does in Tierra 

del Fuego. 


Haunts. This is the characteristic duck of the coasts of antarctic South America. 
Although in most regions it retires into the interior to breed, it is found during the 
greater part of the year on the salt water and even on kelp beds a considerable dis- 
tance from shore. At the northern extremity of its range, on the high mountain lakes 
of Bolivia and Peru, it is resident the year round and has become differentiated as a 
local race {Anas cristata aliicola). In the rigorous climate of Tierra del Fuego it is 
the only duck, excepting the Steamer Duck {Tachyeres cinereus) which braves the 
antarctic winter. So far as known there is no migration even from this extreme 
southern limit of its range. What migration there is seems to be vertical, and P. 
Gosse (1899) speaks of seeing some on a small lake in the Horcones Valley, Mt. Acon- 
cagua, which they seemed to use as a halting station, since they never stopped for 
more than a day or two. It is doubtful whether this duck is very closely related to 
the more typical surface-feeding ducks of the northern hemisphere. Riley (1914) 
has even proposed a separate genus for it. 

Wariness. The Crested Duck is considered more wary than the Chiloe Widgeon 
(Anas sihilatrix) or the Chilian Pintail (Anas spinicauda), according to Crawshay 
(1907), but Blaauw (1916a) found them quite tame in a sanctuary at Porvenor 
Bay, Chile. Mr. J. L. Peters found it by no means wild in western Patagonia, and 
he succeeded in enticing a pair to within gunshot by waving his hat at them. 

Daily Movements. This duck is probably crepuscular in its habits. In southern 
Peru, about Lake Junin, it is seen on land more frequently than some of the other 
ducks; like the Brown Pintail it leaves the water in the evening and spends the night 
on the prairies. In the daytime it is found on the lake shore, just outside the belt 
of reeds (Taczanowski, 1886). 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Flight. After reading the voluminous field notes of 

Map 39. Distribution of Crested Duck {Anas cristata) 




Mr. R. M. Beck I carried away the impression that these birds seldom if ever 
travel in large flocks, for only pairs or family parties were met with in the Straits of 
Magellan and the Tierra del Fuego region. Mr. Peters says he never saw more 
than two together in the Rio Negro Province of Argentina. 

Association with other Species. These ducks are of a very jealous nature and 
pairs do not associate even with their own kind (J. L. Peters, MS.). Captain 
Abbott (1861) speaking of the Falkland Islands, says the pairs have “certain 
boundaries of water” along the coast, upon which they will not allow others of their 
species to encroach. 

Voice. The notes of this duck have not been adequately described. Crawshay 
(1907) speaks of a curiously harsh quack, resembling that of a land rail. On the 
whole it is a silent bird, and the only note heard (probably that of the female) was 
a high-pitched feeble quack (J. L. Peters, VIS.). 

The trachea of the male is 180 mm. long and at the lower end is a left-sided hulla 
ossea very similar to that of Anas specularis. It is 22 mm. long and 15 mm. broad, 
and roughly spherical in shape. 

Food. The diet probably consists chiefly of marine animals throughout the 
greater part of the year. Abbott (1861) noted their feeding on shell-fish in the Falk- 
lands, and in the Straits of Magellan Cunningham (1871) saw them on the kelp beds 
some distance from shore. In Tierra del Fuego (Phillips Bay), Mr. Blaauw (1916a) 
found them especially numerous and feeding with gulls, skuas and oyster-catchers 
on the refuse from a sheep-refining plant. 

Mr. J. L. Peters brought back two stomachs from Huanuluan, Rio Negro, taken 
September 25, 1920, and they contained from 88 to 95% of animal matter. This 
consisted of ground-up small crustaceans, and there were also a few seeds of Myrio- 
phyllum, Carex, bits of grass-root and stem and the trace of a weevil. 

Two more collected by Lord WiUiam Percy at Lake Junin, Peru, in April, 1920, 
contained mostly vegetable matter, representing both Naias and Potamogeton. 

Courtship and Nesting. The breeding season in Patagonia, southern Chile and 
the Falklands is well defined, extending from early October into November. Ex- 
ceptionally late dates were noted by R. M. Beck (MS.) who found a nest and two 
eggs on Bleeker Island on December 13, and on London Island came across young 
just able to fly on January 18. In the Falklands, W. S. Brooks (1917) found the first 
brood of downy young on November 19 and the last on February 8. He considers 
the latter date extremely late. Farther north in Tucuman a nest and eggs were 
found at an altitude of 4300 meters in early February (Hartert and Venturi, 1909), 


(Plate 27; Plate 32) 


Anas strepera Linne, Systema Naturae, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 125, 1758. 

Anas cinerea S. G. Gmelin, Reise Russland, vol. 2, p. 184, pi. 17, 1774. 

Anas kekuschka S. G. Gmelin, Reise Russland, vol. 3, p. 249, pis. 26, 27, 1774. 
ChauUodus strepera Swainson, Journ. Roy. Inst. Gt. Britain, vol. 2, p. 19, 1831. 
ChauUodes strepera Gould, Birds of Europe, vol. 5, pi. 366, 1837. 

Chaidelasmus streperus Bonaparte, Comparative List, p. 56, 1838. 

Ktinorhynchus streperus Eyton, Monograph Anatidae, p. 137, 1838. 

Querquedula strepera MacGillivray, Manual Ornith., vol. 2, p. 169, 1842. 

Anas mail Hodgson, Gray’s Zool. Miscellany, p. 81, no. 500, 1844. 

Chaulelasmus strepera Reichenbacli, Synopsis Avium, Natatores, pi. 92, fig. 165- 
167, 1845. 

Chaulelasmus cinereus Brehm, Vogelfang, p. 373, 1855. 

Chaulelasmus americanus Gray {?ubi),fide Brehm, Vogelfang, p. 374, 1855. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Gadwall, Gray Duck, German Duck, Speckle-belly, Creek Duck, Blaten 
Duck, Welsh Duck, Gray Widgeon, Sand Widgeon, Gad-bill. 

French: Canard chipeau. Canard ridenne. Canard bruyant. Canard strepere, 
Bourriquet, Pilet tierce. Double sarcelle, Violon (Louisiana Creoles). 

German: Schnatterente, Scharrente, Larmente, Nesselente, Weissspiegel, Scherrent- 
lin, Doppelkricke, Kleine Stockente, Polnische Ente. 

Danish: Knarand, Graesand, Perleand. 

Norwegian: Snadderand. 

Swedish: Snatterand, Middeland. 

Icelandic: Litla griiond. 

Finnish: Lorppbsorsa. 

Dutch: Krakeend, Krust, Halve Eendvogel, Roepereend. 

Spanish: Anade ridente, Pato pinto, Pato Castellano, Ascle, Griset. 

Basque: Ata ostuna. 

Portuguese: Frisada. 

Plate 27 



Italian: Canapiglia, Ridenna, Aneda saelvadega, Albera, Pignolo, Anitra montanara, 
Ervalora, Trigali. 

Maltese: Culuvert second. 

Croatian: Patka kreketaljka. 

Czech: Kaprivka. 

Polish: Kaczka cyranka. 

Russian: Serucha, Kraikovaia-utka, Polucha. 

Tartar: Kur-urdak. 

Bashkirs: Kugal. 

Hungarian: Kendermagos recze. 

Mongolian: Shiraegoi. 

Japanese: Okayoshigamo. 

Hindu: Mila, Bhuar, Beykhur. 

Bengali: Peing-hans. 

Nepalese: Mail. 

Sindhi: Burd. 

Mexican: Colcanauhtli. 


Adult Male: Top of head ruddy brown, mixed with indistinct blackish. Sides of head whitish, 
thickly speckled with blackish and having a nearly obsolete post -orbital stripe of brown. Neck 
nearly like cheeks; mantle and scapulars nearly black, highly ornamented with narrow wavy lines of 
white or buff. Tertials rusty brown to grayish. Back dark gray; rump and upper tail-coverts iri- 
descent green-black. Breast black with narrow crescentic white bars merging into whitish and with 
black bars as it shades off into the white of abdomen. Flanks vermiculated, dark gray and white, 
lower abdomen more or less grayish, under tail-coverts deep green-black. Lesser wing-coverts 
brownish, the median ones bright chestnut, forming a conspicuous patch, and the greater ones form- 
ing a black bar anterior to the speculum. Speculum formed by secondaries, which are black exter- 
nally and white internally. Primaries brown; under wing-coverts and axillars white. Tertials long 
and pointed and light gray in color. Tail grayish brown. 

Iris dark brown. Bill, culmen black except along cutting edge, where it is dull orange; lower maxil- 
lary dull orange on lower side. Legs and feet orange, webs dusky. 

Wing 259-278 mm.; bill 40-44; tarsus 40-43. 

Weight 2 pounds to 2 pounds 6 ounces (0.90 to 1.07 kilograms). 

Note: Old World specimens are the same size as American ones. 

Adult Female: General appearance somewhat like that of female Mallard, particularly head and 
upper side, but in adult plumage always whiter on abdomen, and having a large white wing-patch on 
the secondaries. The wing is the same as in the male, except that the chestnut patch is reduced to the 
tips of a few of the median wing-coverts. 



Iris dark brown. Bill with a dark area down middle of culmen and light orange on the sides. Legs 
and feet yellow orange, paler than in the male. 

Wing 240-248 mm.; bill 37-42; tarsus 38-41. 

At breeding time the adult female becomes very much darker on the upper side, owing to the wear 
of the light feather-edges. Lord Percy wTites me that this is always so, and that the majority are 
distinctly more heavily spotted underneath. 

Young Fem.vle in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Resembles adult female, but is thickly spotted all 
over lower side. The white of the speculum is gray and there is no black patch on the greater coverts. 
The color of the mantle and scapulars is very close to that of the adult plumage, but the mantle is 
more uniform and the feathers usually lack the light bars of the adult bird. 

Young Male in First Plumage: Very closely resembles female at a similar stage of development 
but can probably always be told by the light bars which occur on the feathers of the mantle. These 
feathers are nearly uniform in the young female and have no bars. 

Young Male beginning to assume Adult Plumage: A few of the black and white feathers appear 
upon the upper breast and the lower abdomen begins to lose the spots. Llpper side with a few adult 
mantle feathers showing, the chestnut patch appearing, and the speculum nearly like that of adult. 
Flank feathers more or less vermiculated. Long tertials not developed. Rump and upper tail- 
cov'erts still brown. Adult plumage not complete till spring. 

Male in Eclipse Plumage: The resemblance to the female is verj’ close but the wing remains as in 
the winter plumage. 

Downy Young: Very closely resembles Mallard, and not easily distinguished from it. The streak 
through the eye is, however, much less pronounced, and the stripe down the back of the neck is nar- 
rower and lighter in color. In a specimen in the Museum of Comparative Zoology about ten days 
old, the bill is described as dusky brownish on upper mandible and bright ochraceous yellow on the 
lower. The feet are dusky vinaceous, and the webs are black. Lord Percy writes me that in his 
series, the downy Mallards are distinctly greener all over than Gadwalls, and have the thigh spots 
greener. Mr. A. C. Bent says that Gadwalls are always paler in down color than Mallards. 


Breeding Range 

The range of the Gadwall is similar to that of the Shoveller but extends neither so far north nor so 
far south. Its main breeding range lies between 30° and 60° north latitude, though it nests princi- 
North pally between 40° and 50° north latitude. In America its range is not nearly so extensive 

America as that of the Shoveller, for apparently it does not breed south of about 37° or 38° north 

latitude, or north of about 57° north latitude except in unusual cases. Longitudinally it breeds from 
the Pacific coast eastward regularly to Lake Michigan. From the western shore of Lake Michigan 
and the northern peninsula of Michigan the breeding limit runs northwest to the western shore of 
Lake Winnipeg, thence northward and westward through Athabasca south of about 57°, and west to 
Lesser Slave Lake; thence southwestward through central British Columbia, to the Pacific 
coast, which it follows south almost to Los Angeles. Here it bends inland, defiecting slightly to the 
south to include northern Arizona and New Mexico, whence it runs northeastward through Kansas 
and Iowa to Lake Michigan. Retracing this area we find it recorded for various districts as follows : 
formerly breeding in Wisconsin near Lake Koshkonong (Cooke, 1906) and still breeding in some 
sections (Cory, 1909). For Manitoba it has lieen variously reported nesting by Dippie {fide J. and 



y; ‘ 

", ' ■ 

■v , 




. "V: 













V ’ '*' 

'■-i <-Wfc 

^ .. . 


Map 40. Distribution ( < 

Breeding range, dotted lil 

'iwall {Anas strepera) 

•".er range, broken line 

t-r il . 



J. M. Macoun, 1909), for Shoal Lake (Taverner, 1919), for Lake Manitoba and Buffalo Lake (Raine, 
1892) and for Lake Winnipeg. E. E. Thompson (1891) has also recorded it for this Province. J. and 
J. M. Macoun (1909) give various breeding records for southern Saskatchewan. Bent (1907) has 
also recorded it as an abundant nesting bird in the southwest of Saskatchew'an and Ferry (1910) for 
Prince Albert and Quill Lakes. From Alberta it has been recorded by Spreadborough {fide J. and 
J. M. Macoun, 1909) (Lesser Slave Lake and Peace River Landing) and by Horsbrugh (1915) for 
Buffalo Lake. Spreadborough {fide J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909) also says it is common as a breeder 
at Edmonton and so does W'illiam Rowan {in litt.) but according to Soper (1918) it breeds there only 
in limited numbers. Mr. Harper, collecting for me in 1920, saw none in the Athabasca Delta, but 
learned of five having been shot at Lac la Biche in April. In British Columbia it is found sparingly in 
the southern district, — Victoria, Chilliwack and Okanagan (A. Brooks, 1917). It breeds throughout 
the northwestern United States, in Minnesota (Roberts, 1919), in North Dakota (Bent, 1901-02; 
U.S. Biological Survey), in Montana (Coues, 1874; F. M. Bailey, 1918; A. A. Saunders, 1921) and in 
W^ashington (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909). South of this belt I find records for Oregon (Bendire, 
1877; Cantwell, U.S. Biological Survey), Idaho (Merriam, 1873), Wyoming (W. C. Knight, 1902; 
Grave and Walker, 1913), South Dakota (McChesney, 1879) and Kossuth County, Iowa (R. M. 
Anderson, 1907). In Nebraska it breeds not uncommonly in the sand-hills of the western sections 
(Oberholser, 1920; Bruner, W'olcott and Swenk, 1905), and it nests rarely even as far south as Kansas 
(Goss, 1891; Bunker, 1913). According to Widmann (1907) the species nested in Clark County, 
Missouri, till recent times. In Colorado it breeds, according to Cooke (1906), W. L. Sclater (1912), 
Morrison (1888) and others, while in Utah it appears to be quite common, especially in the Salt Lake 
region (J. A. Allen, 1872; U.S. Biological Survey). From Nevada it has been variously reported and 
seems to be quite abimdant (Ridgway, 1877; Oberholser, U.S. Biological Survey; V. Bailey, U.S. 
Biological Survey). It is not a common breeder on the Pacific coast, but is knowm from the Sacra- 
mento Valley (Heermann,^e Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) and thence south to San Jacinto 
Lake (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918). Mearns (1890) says it is common and presumably breeds 
in the mountains of Arizona, and recently W^etmore (1920) has recorded its breeding in some numbers 
on Lake Burford, New Mexico. According to Merrill (1878) some remain all summer near Fort 
Brown, Texas, and may very conceivably breed, though the locality would be unusual. North of the 
regular breeding area the species has been taken, presumably breeding, on Lake Athabasca and at 
Sitka, Alaska, September, 22, 1911. J. Grinnell (1910) also reports the fact that a flock of five was 
seen on July 16 in Glacier Bay, southeastern Alaska, and A. M. Bailey (MS.) saw a single pair in this 
same region in August, 1920. The species has also been twice taken on the Pribilov Islands (Hanna, 
1920). Quite extraordinary is Turner’s (1886) statement that the species occurs in the Aleutians, 
although not breeding. On the Yukon Delta, he says, it is common in summer. MacFarlane (1908) 
states that it may breed north to the Anderson River, and Richardson {fide Baird, Brewer and Ridg- 
way, 1884) gives 68° north latitude as the northern limit, but I find no facts to substantiate these 
presumptions. The species has been known to straggle to Unalaska (March 18, 1879) and according 
to Cooke (1906) bred once on the St. Clair Flats, between Lakes Erie and Huron. Preble (1902) has 
recorded a specimen taken in August at Fort Churchill, and states that Bell took specimens on 
Hudson Bay. Verrill (1862) found a few apparently breeding on Anticosti Island in the Gulf of 
St. Lawrence, but Schmitt (1904) in his recent excellent monograph on the island, does not even 
mention the species as occurring there, and from its great scarcity all over New England and eastern 
Canada it could scarcely be more than accidental there. 

This duck has straggled as far north as Greenland although so far as I know only one specimen 
has been recorded and this was taken at Nanortalik, November 30, 1909 (Schioler, Greenland 
1912). Quite outside the regular European range it is remarkable to find the speeies 
breeding in Iceland, apparently not rarely; for Hantzsch (1905), the most recent 
writer on this district, records seven or eight authentic reports of its breeding in the vicinity of the 






Myvatn and he himself found it nesting there. Its occurrence in anj' other section of Iceland is not 
yet sufficiently proved; but its appearance on the island is unquestionablj' to be explained by the 
British presence of great numbers of other European species with which it probably arrives. 

Isles In England it seems to be an introduced breetier only, but now nests in some numbers 

in Norfolk and Suffolk (British Ornith. Union, 1915). Since 1906 the Gadwall has also 
been breeding in Scotland. Baxter and Rintoul (lO^O) quote records of its nesting there in Peebles, 
Kinross, Caithness, Ross-shire, Sutherland and Fife. 

It is a rare bird in most of Scandinavia, unknown in Norway excepting for three .sporadic occur- 
rences at Bergen, Listerland and Jaederen (Schaanning, 1913), and in Sweden not 
occurring north of 61° north latitude. It probably nests sparingly throughout southern 
Sweden, however, in Skane, Gotland, Gothenburg (Nilsson, 1858), in Schonen (Wallengren, 1854), 
and more commonly near Stockholm (Meves,^de Dresser, 1871-81). It has been found occasionally 
in the last sixty years near Helsingfors, Finland (Palmgren, 1913). Schrader’s {fide Pleske, 1886) 
statement that it breeds in Lapland is unquestionably erroneous. The species breeds in Denmark, at 
Fahnd and on the west coast of Jutland (Kjarbdlling, 1850) as well as in Holland (Schlegel, 1859; 

van Oort, 1908; Albarda, 1886). We have records of its breeding in many localities in 
Germany, where it seems to be increasing in the eastern sections. I find no records of 
its breeding in the extreme south, but it is recorded for Oldenburg (von Negelein, 1853), Hanover 
(Detmers, 1911; Lons, 1906), Anhalt (Baldamus, 1858), Brunswick (R. Blasius, 1896), IMecklenburg 
(Dahl, 1905; Wustnei, 1898), Brandenburg (Schalow, 1915), eastern Prussia (Hartert, 1892), western 
Saxony (Helm, 1905), Lusatia (Hantzsch, 1903), and Silesia, where it is quite common (von Zed- 
litz, 1919, p. 120; Floricke, 1891). In Posen it is a very rare bird (Hammling, 1917). The species 
Austria also breeds in Bohemia (Fritsch, 1872; von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen, 1890), in Sla- 

Hungary vonia (W. E. Clarke, 1884; von Schweppenburg, 1915), in Hungary (de Gyula, 1903) 
where in some jdaces it is quite common (von Chernel, fide Naumann, 1896-1905), in eastern 
Galicia (Prazak, 1898) and in the Bukowina (von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen, 1890) as well as in Tran- 
sylvania (Csato, fide von Tschusi zu Schmidhoffen, 1890). At best, however, it is a very doubtful 
breeder throughout what was formerly the Dual IMonarchy. On the other hand it appears to be 
extremely common as a breeder on the lower Danube, particularly in the Delta. I 
find it recorded for the Balkans from Bulgaria (Alleon, 1886; Reiser, 1894; Riidakoff, 
1879), Rumania (Radakoff, 1879; Lintia, 1909) particularly the Delta regions, Dobrudja and Bes- 
sarabia (Alleon, 1886; Sintenis, 1877; Radakoff, 1879; von Almasy, 1898). Elwesand Buckley (1870) 
think that some may nest in Macedonia while Reiser and von Ftihrer (1896) say the same for Monte- 
Poland and negro. Going north again, it breeds sparingly in Poland (Taczanowski, 1888; Katin, 
Baltic 1912) and most likely in Kurland and Livonia (Loudon, 1909). It does not breed in 

Provinces Esthonia, and I am of the opinion that its occurrence near Petrograd is only sporadic, 
Russia although Meves {fide Dresser, 1871-81) took a specimen on Ladoga in June. Buchner 

(1885) says it breeds sparingly near Petrograd, while J. von Fischer (1872) speaks of it as common in 
that vicinity. But there is no evidence to prove these last two statements, and the species is very 
probably of accidental occurrence both at Petrograd and at Novgorod (Bianchi, 1910). The speci- 
mens said to have been taken near Archangel are also very unusual and sporadic. There are three 
April records for Pskov (Zarudny, 1910). It breeds rarely in Jaroslav (Harvie-Brown, 1878) and 
farther east in Perm up to about 57° north latitude. It becomes more common farther south, in 
Moscow (Menzbier, 1881; Lorenz, 1892), thence eastward through Kazan (Russki, 1893) to southern 
Perm, where it is found at Ekaterinburg, and especially at Shadrinsk and Cheliabinsk. Moreover 
it breeds in Tambov (Dresser, 1871-81) and in Tula (Menzbier, 1881), in Orel (Goebel, 1871; Danil- 
off, 1864), Kief (Dresser, 1871-81), Charkow (Czernay, 1852), Voronetz (Czernay, 1852), Cherson 
(Brauner, 1894) and abundantly in Ekaterinoslav (Valkh, 1911) while in southeastern Russia it 
appears to be extremely abundant on the Volga in the vicinity of Sarepta (Moeschler, 1853; Becker, 







1853). Dresser (1871-81) quotes Kessler as saying that it is less common in summer in southwestern 
than in southeastern Russia. Radde (1854) has recorded it for the Crimea but I am not sure that it 
breeds there. It apparently breeds throughout the Caucasus in suitable localities 
(Seebohm, 1883; Radde, 1884), particularly on the southern slopes, on Gotschai Lake 
and the Talysch lowlands. Before leaving Europe it may be well to speak of Spain, 
where the species breeds about the mouth of the Guadalquivir, at Santa Olaya (H. Saunders, 1871; 
Lilford, 1887), and at Zopiton and SantolaUa (A. Chapman and Buck, 1910). H. Noble (1902) has 
also recorded its breeding in Andalucia. Across the Straits it has been reported near Northwest 
Tangiers (Carstensen, 1852) and farther east in Algeria (Baldamus, 1858; von Zedlitz, Africa 
1914). According to Paglia {fide Picchi, 1904) it once nested near Mantua, Italy. Italy 
Bucknill’s (1911) record of its occurrence in Cyprus at the end of May seems to indicate that this 
species like the Shoveller may breed there. 

In Asia the species breeds throughout the Kirgis north of the Caspian and Aral Seas (Suschkin, 
1914; Nazarow, 1887) and along the entire southern shore of the Caspian, whence it has 
been recorded for the southwest district by Radde (1886), and for the southern section 
by Zarudny (1911), who also records it as nesting in the Parapamis Mountains, and ^^d*^ 
more rarely even as far south as the Seistan region of Afghanistan. Farther north in 
Transcaspia it was reported as a doubtful breeder by Radde and Walter (1889) who found it there in 
May, but Zarudny (1889-90) more recently has recorded it as being widely distributed in the Ted- 
shen and in the Merv districts, and breeding on the Alikhanov Canal, where he found several nests. 
Molcanov (1912) states that it nests in some numbers in the delta of the Amur-Daria or Oxus. 
The species also breeds in northern and northeastern Turkestan (Dresser, 1876; Lansdell, 1885), but 
it probably does not occur in the desert region of southwestern Turkestan. In western Asia it breeds 
apparently as far south as Yarkand and southern Kashgaria (Koslow, 1899), but very Western 
probably is to be regarded as chiefly a migrant in these regions. I do not believe it will Siberia 
be found nesting in any part of Kashmir. Finsch (1879) found it in several localities in western Sibe- 
ria, on the Sassyk Ala-kul, May 9, and on the Marka-kul as well. A little farther to the northeast it 
has been recorded as breeding about the Saissan-nor, at Minussinsk and in the Russian Altai (Susch- 
kin, 1914), and in the whole of western Siberia its breeding range probably extends north to at least 
58° north latitude. According to Ushakov (1913) it nests commonly in Tobolsk. Most astounding and 
inexplicable is Finsch’s (1879) statement that he took a pair leading young in down on July 23 on the 
Shchucha River, a tributary of the Ob, which joins the latter river at its mouth in about latitude 67° 
north. Looking east again we find Radde’s (1863) testimony for the species’ breeding Baikal 
in the eastern Sajan Mountains and in Transbaikalia, where it was found also nesting Region 
in the Argun Moimtains by Dybowski (Taczanowski, 1873). It apparently does not Eastern 
breed in Mongolia, nor has it been recorded from the lower Amur, but A. von Mid- Siberia 
dendorff (1853) found it nesting in the Stanowoi Mountains, where it probably ranges north to 
about 60° north latitude, and also on the coast of the Ochotsk Sea. According to Taczanowski (1893) 
it extends eastward even to Kamchatka, and Dybowski {fide Stejneger, 1887 ; Sokolnikoff, in Hartert, 
1920) found it on Bering Island. This is hardly sufficient evidence to warrant the inclusion of the 
regions as parts of the breeding range. Stejneger (1898) records it from the Kuriles on the testimony 
of Snow, but since we know nothing of its occurrence on Yezo or Saghalin I believe we must regard 
this record as doubtful or at best only a passage record of a specimen en route to Kamchatka. 

Winter Range 

In the New World the Gad wall winters on the Pacific coast from Vancouver Island south through 
Washington and Oregon, Utah and the whole of California (Cooke, 1906; GrinneU, North 
Bryant and Storer, 1918), rarely westward through Colorado (W. L. Sclater, 1912) and America 
presumably occurs throughout Nevada in winter, as also in Arizona and New Mexico. It has been 



known to winter near a warm spring in Wyoming. Its chief winter quarters seem to be the basin of 
the lower Mississippi, north perhaps as far as southern Illinois (Ridgway, 1895) and Missouri, and 
very commonly in Arkansas (Howell, 1911), Louisiana (Beyer, Allison and Kopman, 1907) and 
Mississippi. By way of illustration in this connection it may be interesting to quote from an Ameri- 
can sporting journal which estimates that in five months during the winter 1913-14 about 15,620 of 
this species were killed in Louisiana alone! Throughout the whole of Texas they are abundant in 
winter (Merrill, 1878; Beckham, 1888; Strecker, 1912) and the same is true of northern Mexico. It 
occurs throughout the whole of the peninsula of Lower California wherever food occurs and in 
Mexico on the west coast south to about Manzanillo, but reaches Barra de Santa Ana (Tabasco) on 
the eastern coast. For Mexico it has been variously reported for Sonora (Robinette, /de J. A. Allen, 
1893), Chihuahua (Kennerly, fide Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884), Presidio (Forrer, British 
Museum), Zacatecas (Richardson, ibid.), Mazatlan, Lake Chapala (Lawrence, 1874; Beebe, 1905), 
Guanajuato, Guadalajara (Duges, 1869), Valle de Mexico (Herrera, 1888; Villada, 1891-92), Tehua- 
can, Vera Cruz, and Barra de Santa Ana (Ferrari-Perez, 1886). In the West Indies the species occurs 
irregularly but not very rarely on Jamaica (March, 1864; P. L. Sclater, 1910) but seems to be quite 
unusual on Cuba (Gundlach, 1871). In Florida it is quite common (Cory, 1896) but apparently does 
not occur south of Kissimmee (U.S. Biological Survey). Northward along the Atlantic coast it is 
considered a rare bird in Georgia and South Carolina (Wayne, 1910) and even in North Carolina it 
is not common (Pearson, Brimley and Brimley, 1919). It is said to be common on the Potomac and 
on the larger streams of West Virginia (Rives, 1890) and a few are thought to winter even in Mary- 
land (Kirkwood, 1895). There is one record of its occurrence on Bermuda, December 20, 1849 
(J. M. Jones, 1859). The species also winters in the Haw^aiian Islands, whence it has been recorded 
for Oahu (R. C. L. Perkins, 1903). 

In Europe the Gadwall does not ordinarily winter south of 15° north latitude nor north of about 
Europe latitude excepting in western Europe w’here it winters much farther north, 

g It has occurred on the Shetlands and Orkneys, for example, and according to G. R. 

Isles Gray (1871) is perhaps not particularly rare in Scotland, where it has been met with 

in the Hebrides, in Forfar, Caithness, Glasgow, Islay, Renfrew, on the Tay and Forth 
Rivers, at Aberdeen, in Perth and in East Lothian. In the Outer Hebrides and especially in Tiree 
it is abundant in winter (Baxter and Rintoul, 1920). In England it is apparently to be met with 
sparingly throughout, while in Ireland it occurs rarely and chiefly in the eastern sections. W. Thomp- 
son (1851) records specimens from counties Down, Dublin, Westmeath, Wexford and Cork; and 
Ussher and Warren (1900) say it occurs irregularly in almost all the maritime provinces. On the 
Holland Continent it is said to occur rarely in winter in Holland (Dresser, 1871-81 ; Schlegel, 
1859) and at the mouth of the Enis River (Detmers, 1911), but seems to be quite 
common in Belgium during the winter months according to Dubois (1886) and Long- 
champs (fide Dresser, 1871-81); although more recently Quinet (fide Ternier and Masse, 1907) states 
that it is rare there. Naumann (1896-1905) quotes authorities to show that at times the species 
winters in various parts of Germany, viz. about Milnster, at Neuwied, in Oldenburg 
and in southern Bavaria and Baden. It winters throughout France, but rarely in the 
northern districts (Rogeron, 1903; Ternier and Masse, 1907; Paris, 1907), while in 
Spain, especially in southern Spain, it appears to have once been abundant (H. Saun- 
ders, 1877; Reyes y Prosper, 1886; Arevalo y Baca, 1887). It is said to be not very 
common in the Basque Province (Aldaz y Amazabel, 1918). It winters also on the 
Balearics (Reyes y Prosper, 1886). Barboza du Bocage (fide Dresser, 1871-81) states 
that it is not common in Portugal as recorded by A. C. Smith (1868). Apparently 
specimens have been taken only at Ovar and Ribatejo (Tait, 1896; de Seabra, 1910). 
It occurs in winter in Corsica (Jourdain, 1912) and in Sardinia (Salvadori, 1865), but 
is apparently not common in either island. On the other hand it is said to be abundant in Sicily, 














Asia Minor 

especially about Lentini and Syracuse (Giglioli, 1886), and visits Malta only occasionally in winter 
(C. A. Wright, 1864; Despott, 1917). It is found throughout Italy in winter, being recorded from all 
the Provinces, Calabria, Apulia, the Marches, Tuscany, Liguria, Lombardy, Piedmont and Savoy 
(Giglioli, 1886, 1889-91), but is far from common in the peninsula, and quite rare in the northern 
sections. Althammer (1857) has recorded it for the Tyrol, and Patio (1904) speaks of Tyrol 
its occurrence in all parts of Switzerland, adding that it is not common. It winters to 
some extent in Hungary (Madarasz, 1884), but probably in only the southern sections; 
according to Kolombatovic (1903) it is not rare in Dalmatia. Lodge (1909) says it is 
common at Durazzo, and Elwes and Buckley (1870) found it common in Macedonia, 
while Reiser (1894) quotes Hristovic for its occurrence at Sofia in winter. In Greece it has been 
found by Kriiper (1862) and Lindermayer (1860) but according to von der Muhle (1844) it is not 
common there. Lilford (1875) speaks of finding it on the Ionian Isles, and Dresser (1871-81) gives 
the whole of Asia Minor as part of its wunter habitat. Danford (1880) found it an 
abundant species in the Taurus, and it appears in Mesopotamia in great numbers dur- 
ing the inundations of the Euphrates (Ticehurst, Buxton and Cheesman, 1922, p. 655). 

The species is found in northern Africa in wunter, and has been recorded as not common and 
irregular in Morocco (Favier,^de Dresser, 1871-81; Irby, 1875), though apparently quite abundant 
in Algeria (Salvin, 1859; Loche, 1867; Tristram, 1860; Taczanowski, 1870). Concern- Northwest 
ing Tunis, Whitaker (1905) says it is not rare, but irregular; Kdnig (1888) has also Africa 
recorded it from Tunis. In the Nile Delta the species seems to be not uncommon, but 
is probably exceedingly rare farther up the river, even at Giza (Nicoll, 1909, 1919). 

Shelley (1872) says he shot it as far south as El Kab, about 19° north latitude. Von Heuglin (1873) 
took specimens in winter at Adowa, Abyssinia, but I am loath to believe that the species regularly 
passes so far south, and I find no further records for this region. Verreaux’s (fide Layard, 1875-84) 
statement that the species had been taken on the Orange River, Cape of Good Hope, must, I believe, 
be accepted with reserve as being insufficiently proved. The fact that Bennett (Tristram, 1898) 
found it on Socotra, in the Gulf of Aden, and that von Heuglin (1873) took a half -starved specimen 
at Suakin on the Red Sea in October, seems to indicate that the species very occasionally strays along 
the Red Sea. 

In Palestine it was met with in winter by Tristram (1884), and Bucknill (1911) found it on Cyprus 
in December. It has been taken at Erzerum (Dresser, 1891) and winters, according to Zarudny 
(1911) in the Zaragoss and Mesopotamian regions of Persia. A few were seen on the 
lower Euphrates in February by a member of the British Expeditionary Force (London 
Field, Dec. 14, 1918). Blanford (1876) speaks of it as occurring all over Persia, and Zarudny (1911) 
says it is common in winter south of the Caspian, in the Parapamis, the Seistan, in Kuhistan and 
Kirman, and in both the northern and southern parts of Baluchistan. Farther north it seems to be 
common in Transcaspia where it was taken at Askhabad and Merv in December and January 
(Stolzmann, 1893), along the Tekes River (Loudon, 1910) and on the Murghab (Scully, 1887). C. 
Swinhoe (1882) speaks of it as common in midwinter in southern Afghanistan, and according to 
Sharpe (1889) specimens were taken in Badghis, extreme northwestern Afghanistan, in January and 
February. Stolzmann (1897) reports it as having been taken at Kokand, Ferghana, on February 10, 
but I do not believe the species ordinarily wunters so far north in this region, and I am quite certain 
that Koslow’s (1899) statement that it winters on the Bargrasch-kul (circa 87° east longitude, 42° 
north latitude) must be either erroneous, or very exceptional. At least the species seems to occur on 
passage only near Gilgit, northwestern Kashmir, though it winters in most of the Province (Hume 
and Marshall, 1879). In the district about Kohat and Kurram it is rare in winter (C. H. T. White- 
head, 1909), but south and east of this region it becomes exceedingly common throughout northern 
India south of the Himalayas as far as Mysore, 13° or 14° north latitude. Within this area it is abun- 
dant in Sind, Pimjab, the Northwest Provinces and Bengal, in Bombay and Mysore, but not in 




Madras (Baker, 1908), extending eastward through Assam, Manipur and Tipperah to Burma. It 
has been recorded from Arakan by Blyth (1875), and recently Bingham and Thompson (1900) and 
Rippon (1901) reported it common in the South Shan States. Thence eastward it occurs in southern 
China, but is apparently far from common in that country. It has been variously reported by David 
and Oustalet (1877) and by Seebohm (1884), for Foochow by Rickett (1894), for Ningpo by R. 
Swinhoe (1873), for the lower Yangtse by Styan (1891), and for Shanghai by Wade (1895) and 
Swinhoe (von Heuglin, 1874). I know nothing of its occurrence in Formosa or in the Loo-choo 
Islands, but it is found in winter in southern Japan, where it has been taken at Nagasaki and Yoko- 
hama (Seebohm, 1890). According to Blakiston and Fryer (1882) it winters even north of Tokio. 
From northern Japan or Yezo we have no records. 

Passage Area 


In North America, and Europe and Asia as well, there is a certain area in which the bird is knowm 
primarily or wholly as a migrant, and this region, in the New World, extends from Colorado, through 
North southern Nebraska and Kansas, Iowa, Missouri and Illinois, thence east to the Al- 

America leghany Mountains, perhaps including parts of Tennessee and Kentucky, and cer- 

tainly Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. The Gadwall is extremely rare on the 
Atlantic coast from Chesapeake Bay north through New Jersey and all of New England, becoming 
sporadic in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick as w'ell as in Quebec and most of Ontario (J. and J. M. 
Macoun, 1909; Dionne, 1906; Mcllwraith, 1894). The evidence for these remarks is not meager. 
Though the species winters and breeds in Colorado, it occurs chiefly on passage (W. L. Sclater, 1912). 
It is common on passage in Kansas (Goss, 1891) and in Nebraska (W. E. Taylor and Van Vleet, 
1888), not rare on passage in northern Illinois (Nehrling, 1885), and occurs in Michigan (Barrows, 
1912), Pennsylvania (Todd, 1904) and in New York (Eaton, 1910). On Delaware Bay and in New 
Jersey it is known as a rare transient (W. Stone, 1909) and the same is even more true of New Eng- 
land (G. M. Allen, 1909; and others). 

In Europe the species is to be regarded primarily as a bird of passage in Holland, Belgium, France, 
excepting the southern parts, extreme northern Italy, Lorraine, Switzerland, extreme southern and 
western Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Galicia and southern Poland, for although it 
breeds in many of these regions and winters in others, yet in some it occurs only on 
passage, as in Lorraine (d’Hamonville, 1895; von Besserer, 1899), and in all the specified areas it is 
known chiefly as a migrant. 

In Asia, as in America and Europe, there is also an extended area in which the species occurs pri- 
marily or wholly on passage, and Oustalet (1894) some time ago called attention to this fact when he 
spoke of the species as traversing central Asia on migration. Meager as our data are, 
this area may be said roughly to extend from eastern Turkestan, or perhaps even 
eastern Transcaspia (Merv), along the northern parts of Kashmir and then to follow the course of the 
Himalayas through northwestern China, across the Yellow Sea (excluding Korea) and the course of 
the Ussuri northward to Uda Bay. Thence it runs southwestward along the northern edge of the 
Mongolian deserts till it reaches Turkestan again. Our information eoncerning the occurrence of this 
species is very defective, but a few facts will serve to clarify the situation. In southwestern Turke- 
stan, says Lansdell (1885), the species occurs on passage, and concerning northwestern Kashmir the 
same is true according to Biddulph (1881). Scully (1879) says the birds do not winter in Nepal, but 
are common on passage; the same is probably true of the whole Himalayan range. In northern Tibet 
and on the Lob-nor it occurs on passage (Koslow, 1899), and specimens have been taken at Aktarma 
and Lob-nor during the second half of October (Oustalet, 1894). It occurs on passage in A'arkand and 
Kashgaria (Koslow, 1899) and in southeastern Mongolia (Prjevalski, 1878). According to the same 
writer one specimen was also taken at Lake Hanka in late April. The species is unknown from Korea 




or the lower Amur, and is probably of very exceptional occurrence east of longitude 120° east and 
between 40° and 50° north latitude. 


I KNOW of nothing concerning the migration of this species which could be called characteristic. 
The comparative proximity of the breeding and wintering ranges results very naturally in a some- 
what less extended period of migration activity than is the case with some ducks. In northern Africa 
Gadwall apparently start north as early as February (Whitaker, 1905) and the same is true of south- 
ern sections of Europe, the Tyrol, for example. In most parts of southern Europe the species passes 
in early March, arriving in central Europe about March 20 to 25. For Hungary the average date of 
arrival for fifteen years was March 22. The birds reach northern Germany in late March and early 
April. Apparently there is no more activity after April 15. In autumn the birds rarely start south 
as early as September, but leave Germany in October, passing through Switzerland in October and 
November, and arriving at Tunis in late October and November. 

In Asia the birds seem to migrate somewhat earlier in the autumn, some appearing in the Him- 
alayas in late September. But they do not arrive in the plains of India until October or even Novem- 
ber. In spring they start north in March and pass through the Himalayas in the course of that 
month and the next, lingering as late as May in Kashmir and surrounding districts, and even so far 
south as Sind. 

For America a few dates from Cooke (1906) will suffice to illustrate similar conditions. The birds 
arrive in Iowa and Colorado in the first half of March, farther north in Minnesota and Montana 
about April 1, and in their northernmost range, Manitoba, about April 20, Saskatchewan, April 25. 
Data for the autumn migration are very scant, but what there are seem to indicate a somewhat earlier 
passage than that seen in Europe and Asia. Some of the birds arrived as far south as the southern 
end of Lower California in late September, and the species was abundant in northern Mexico about 
the same time. Farther south, however, at Mazatlan and in the Valle de Mexico they do not appear 
to be common until November. They linger in the northern United States, Minnesota, for example, 
until early November. 

It seems quite certain from the scarcity of spring records for the North Atlantic coast, that the 
spring migration is over a more westerly route and is perhaps more concentrated. 

The few young Gadwall that have been banded in England point to the existence of a local 
stock which does not leave the British Isles in winter. 


Haunts. The Gadwall is somewhat distantly related to the Mallard, approaching 
more nearly the Widgeon and the Falcated Teal. Although its range is very ex- 
tensive it is a common bird in only a few districts, for it is almost everywhere vastly 
outnumbered by Mallard, Widgeon, Pintail and Teal. It is, far more than the other 
surface-feeders, a strictly fresh-water duck. In England, says Millais (1902), it will 
at times rest on the sea by day, although it is even less a marine bird than the 
Mallard. The island of Tiree (Inner Hebrides, Scotland), is the only place I have 
‘ ever heard of where Gadwall stay on the open sea during daylight hours (Harvie- 
Brown and Buckley, 1892). On our own Atlantic coast they are very seldom taken 
on salt-marshes, and in California they avoid both the salt water and the alkali 
ponds (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918). Their regular habitat differs not at all 



from that of other surface-feeders. They are not ducks of the open water but prefer 
quiet, secluded water, with plenty of cover. 

When in female or immature plumages Gadwall are rather difficult birds to iden- 
tify in the field, and are easily confused with Pintail, Mallard and Widgeon. 

Wariness. From my own experience I should say that there is very little differ- 
ence between the Gadwall and many other ducks in respect to wariness. Actual 
wariness is here difficult to judge because this species is rather unsociable in its 
habits, and comes less readily to decoys than do other ducks. Where I have shot 
them in the Carolinas, they show less intelligence in avoiding wooden decoys than do 
Pintail or Widgeon. In England, according to Millais (1902), they are not nearly so 
cunning in avoiding danger as is the European Widgeon, and after being once or 
twice shot at they do not try to avoid destruction by flying at great elevations; so 
they are easily “driven” to the hidden shooter. Nevertheless they are shy and 
retiring in their habits and probably only a very small percentage of their number 
is killed each year. 

Daily Movements. The Gadwall does not differ at all in daily habits from the 
Mallard and many other ducks. It feeds largely by night in places where wild- 
fowl are much hunted. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Flight. This species walks and runs with as much 
ease and grace as a Mallard and swims in exactly the same way. Many writers have 
considered it even more graceful and nimble on land than the Mallard; others have 
referred to its more buoyant appearance on the water. It is doubtful whether any of 
these observations are well founded. 

These birds never engage in true diving habits, except when wounded or before 
reaching maturity. The many notes in which they are referred to as “good divers” 
must all apply to their behavior when winged. They feed by tipping up in the water 
exactly like a Mallard. 

Gadwall have never been observed to perch or nest in trees. 

The wings of the Gadwall are long and slender, enabling the bird to rise almost 
perpendicularly from the water, and to fly easily and swiftly. On the wing they are 
somewhat chunky and Widgeon-like in appearance, and the wing-beat is a little 
more rapid than in larger ducks. In flight there is a low whistling sound and Nau- 
mann (1896-1905) seems to think that this sound is especially pronounced in damp 

The Gadwall I have seen were always in very small groups, ranging from three 
or four to half a dozen, but they are found together in large flocks in the winter 
center of abundance on the Gulf Coast of the United States, as well as in India, the 



Caucasus, Mesopotamia and other favorite regions. When flighting to and from 
the feeding grounds they assume no particular formation, but on migration they, 
like other ducks, fly in definite order, usually in an oblique line and rarely in a 
wedge (Naumann, 1896-1905). Identification of this species while on the wing is 
very difficult. It is easy to tell the beginner that he may look for the snowy breast, 
and the rapidly beating wings with their white barring, or that he may listen for the 
note, but in the field these signs are apt to fail because the color pattern is hardly 
to be distinguished against the light, and rapidity of wing-beat is difficult to estimate 
except by comparison with some known species. When jumped off the nest the 
female is apt to be mistaken for the Widgeon, for both are very much alike and the 
eggs are also similar. Gadwall females may be told from Widgeon females by their 
darker color on the back and rump, and the absence of conspicuous light patches 
on the wing shoulders (Bent, 1901-02). 

Association with other Species. This species seems to be more independent 
than most migrant ducks and to lack that gregarious instinct so characteristic of 
Mallard, Pintail, Widgeon and Teal. This spirit of aloofness may in part explain 
the scarcity of hybrids between this and other species. But in regions where they 
are more concentrated, it is evident that they do associate to a greater or less extent, 
as Hume and Marshall (1879) have recorded for India, and Audubon and others for 
the American Southwest. When nesting in the great breeding areas of the American 
West the Baldpate and Scaup Duck often mingle their eggs with those of the 
Gadwall. One or two eggs of WTiite-winged Scoters have also been found in Gad- 
walls’ nests (Job, 1902; Bent, 1901-02). 

Voice. The most interesting thing about the voice of this species is the fact that 
the female’s call is essentially that of the Mallard, while the male has a call entirely 
different from that of any other duck. The male’s note may be described as a 
croaking quack, very loud and raven-like at times, especially in the breeding 
season. I cannot say from my own observations how much the quack of the female 
actually differs from that of the Mallard. It is certainly not very different, and has 
been variously described as either like the Mallard’s, or as weaker, sharper, or 
higher-pitched. There is very little variation in the call of the male. Millais (1902) 
likens it to the call of a raven. My own birds become extremely noisy in the spring, 
and are continually uttering their rather un-ducklike call, which has been compared 
to the cackling of the Garganey, only lower in pitch. According to Naumann 
(1896-1905) there is, presumably in the male, an additional note, a sort of clear 
whistle, heard from flocks during nocturnal flight, and Heinroth (1911) speaks of 
the male as both whistling and quacking during display. I have not heard this 
whistling note. 


The tracheal dilatation in the male is left-sided and quite similar to that of the 

Food. By far the most important study of the food of this duck was made by 
D. C. Mabbott (1920) and other assistants of the U.S. Biological Survey. The 
character of the diet is summarized by his preliminary statement: “The food of both 
the Gadwall and the Baldpate is quite different in some respects from that of the 
Mallard: these two feed to a very large extent upon the leaves and stems of water 
plants, paying less attention to the seeds, while the Mallard feeds indiscriminately 
on both, or even shows some preference for the seeds.” The fact is that the Gad- 
wall is more purely vegetarian, both in summer and in winter, than any of the 
other carefully studied American species of shoal-water ducks. The analysis made 
was based on 417 stomachs, most of which came from birds taken in the autumn 
and winter in Arkansas, Utah, North Carolina, North Dakota, Florida and other 
States. These autumn and winter (September to March) stomachs contained 
over 97% vegetable matter and only about 2% of animal matter. The vegetable 
portion consisted of pond-weeds (42.3%), sedges (19.9%), algse (10.4%), coon-tail 
(7.8%), grasses (7.6%), arrow-heads (3.2%), rice and other cultivated grain (1.3%), 
duck-weeds (0.6%), smart-weeds (0.6%), wild celery and water-weeds (0.5%), 
waterlilies (0.5%), madder family (0.3%), and miscellaneous (2.6%). The predomi- 
nant food is, therefore, the leaves and stems of the pond-weeds. What little animal 
food was taken consisted of a great variety of mollusks, insects (chiefly larval stages) 
and a very few crustaceans. An interesting find was that of reproductive buds of 
fresh-water Bryozoa. 

The summer stomachs of adults, of which there were only thirteen, are especially 
interesting because they contain only 1 1 % of animal food. If this represents a fair 
average, it is certainly a remarkably small amount. The stomachs of eleven young, 
collected mostly in North Dakota, contained water-bugs (56%), beetles (7%), flies 
and their larvae (2%), nymphs of dragon-flies and damsel-flies (0.27%), other in- 
sects (2%), the total animal food being 67.54%. 

A long account of the food of this duck in Europe is given by Naumann (1896- 
1905). There, too, the pond-weed seems to be one of the favorite foods, but ac- 
cording to this writer the Gadwall feeds also on small Conchylia, spawn of fish and 
frogs, and in case of necessity even small fish or frogs. Of the grains, he says, they like 
oats only, though they will feed on rice; but they will not eat barley at any time. 

In India, according to Hume and Marshall (1879), they feed extensively on wild 
or cultivated rice, seeds, leaves and flower-buds of all kinds of rushes and aquatic 
plants, insects and their larvae, and sometimes small worms, but these authors 
never found frogs or fish in Gadwalls’ stomachs. A curious note given by them is 
worth quoting: the Gadwall “may often be seen trotting about on tiny smooth grass 



patches at the margins of broads, busily devouring grasshoppers, crickets and 
(strange though it may seem, it is the fact) small moths and butterflies.” 

Courtship and Nesting. In all parts of its range the Gadwall breeds a little 
later than the Mallard, perhaps averaging nearly three weeks later. In America, 
where the Mallard lays chiefly in April and early May, the Gadwall lays in the latter 
half of May and in June. In the great breeding center, in North Dakota, for ex- 
ample, Job (1902) found them laying from June 10 on, and Bent (1901-02) found 
full clutches of eggs in various stages of incubation on June 15, while in southern 
Saskatchewan most records are for late June (J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909). An 
Idaho record is for late June (Merriam, 1873), and in Montana downy young may 
be seen in June and July (A. A. Saunders, 1921). In Washington and Oregon it 
breeds not earlier than June (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909; U. S. Biological 
Survey records) ; at Lake Burford, New Mexico, females were beginning to lay at 
the end of May (Wetmore, 1920). Southern California dates are mostly for June. 

In Iceland a clutch was found as early as June 12 and a female with downy young 
was taken in the first days of August (Hantzsch, 1905). The breeding records for 
Scotland seem to be June dates (Baxter and Rintoul, 1920) but in Germany the 
species is said to lay chiefly in the second half of May (Naumann, 1896-1905). 
Eggs were taken in late May in Hungary, and at the same period in Bulgaria and 
southern Russia. In Transcaspia eggs were taken in the middle of May (Naumann, 
1896-1905). On the lower Ob, Finsch (1879) saw a female and downy young on 
July 23, the most northern breeding record. 

Display can be seen as well in captive specimens as in the wild, and is a far simpler 
performance than that of the Mallard (see Plate 32). Early in May the male of a 
pair which I recently had would perform actively every afternoon. The neck was 
held perpendicularly and the head moved straight up and down many times, the 
whole carriage of the bird on the water being very erect and animated. During this 
exhibition a sort of lump appeared in the throat, but I could hear no sound, even 
though the birds were only a few feet away. I have even seen this up-and-down 
motion of the head carried out while the male was running about on the bank. 
But I have not seen the male bend over and touch his abdomen with his bill, the 
“No. 2 posture” of Wormald (1913), and one so characteristic of the Mallard, Pintail 
and Teal. Heinroth (1911) also is very definite on this point, though Wormald 
(1913) implies that it is occasionally indulged in. The courtship note is a very loud, 
monotonous croaking noise, and this is the only call I have heard. According to 
Heinroth (1911), however, this call is immediately preceded by a high whistle and 
Wetmore (1920) also speaks of a “shrill whistled call” heard during the breeding 
season. It seems as if we still had a good deal to learn about duck language, espe- 
cially courtship notes. 



When the birds have reached the nesting grounds they may be seen engaged in the 
so-called nuptial flights so characteristic of the Mallard, Pintail, Widgeon and 
Teal. Those who have been fortunate enough to witness these flights have described 
them as among the most beautiful evolutions common to water-fowl. F. INI. Chap- 
man (1908) described the birds as “going at full speed and twisting and turning 
with the erratic flight of a barn swallow.” A more recent and detailed description is 
given by Wetmore (1920) who observed them in New Mexico. He says that the 
mating flight is constantly seen on the breeding grounds, and is apparently more 
common than in other ducks. “The female rose with a slow flapping flight, with 
usually two males in pursuit, calling and whistling constantly. First one, then the 
other male swung in front of her, set his wings, inclined his body upward to show his 
handsome markings, and after a few seconds dropped back again to his former 
position.” Wetmore evidently considers this a part of the display, and noted 
that late in the season one of the males was always apparently more favored than 
the other, flying close to the female so that his wings struck hers in passing, making 
a rattling noise. During these flights the birds often rose to three hundred yards 
and darted from side to side, flying sometimes rapidly, sometimes slowly. 

The mating act is described by Wetmore as follows: the male swam toward the 
female, bowing by extending his neck until his head was erect, then retracting it 
(this is the ordinary type of display). He then approached, pressing his breast 
against the sides of the female, and shoving her easily first on one side then on the 
other, biting her back and rump gently as he did so. After a few seconds she lowered 
her body in the water and copulation took place with the female entirely submerged, 
save for the crown of her head, while half of the body of the male was under water. 
As the female emerged the male turned immediately to face her, bowing deeply and 
giving a deep reedy call as he did so. The postlude, then, is evidently quite different 
from that of the Mallard. 

The Gadwall nests in the same localities as do Mallard, Pintail, Widgeon and 
Teal, and so far as known the nest is always on the ground, differing in no way from 
the nest of other surface-feeders. The clutch numbers from seven to thirteen, the 
average for a full clutch being probably between ten and eleven. Fifteen eggs seems 
to be the highest number recorded (V. Bailey, MS.) . The sets are perhaps larger under 
the favorable conditions of our western prairies than they are in Europe, where nine 
seems to be the usual number (Naumann, 1896-1905). The Gadwall apparently 
never deposits its eggs indiscriminately in the nests of other birds, but, as remarked 
above, the Baldpate, Lesser Scaup and White-winged Scoters have been found laying 
in Gadwalls’ nests. The eggs are ordinarily bluntly oval in shape, smooth and glossy, 
varying in color from cream to grayish green. Eggs in the U.S. National Museum 
measure from 51-55.5 mm. in length and 37.5-40 mm. in breadth (Grinnell, 
Bryant and Storer, 1918). Larger and smaller eggs are listed by Naumann (1896- 



1905), several being from 56-58 mm. in length, and going as high as 40.6 mm. in 
width. The average of twenty -one North Dakota eggs was 52.8 by 39.4 mm. (Bent, 
1901-02). These eggs are very difficult to distinguish from those of the Pintail, 
Widgeon and Shoveller. They differ from those of the American Widgeon by being 
usually whiter and less creamy, as well as slightly shorter and more rounded (Bent, 
1901-02). The nests can probably be best distinguished by the nest-down which is 
characteristic, being very dark, with small light centers and distinct gray points, 
not easily to be confused with that of any other species (H. Noble, 1908). 

The incubation period is from twenty-six to twenty -eight days (Job, 1902; Hein- 
roth, 1908), probably differing not at all from that of the Mallard. Mr. Wormald 
hatched some in twenty-three or twenty -four days, but duck eggs seem to hatch a 
little quicker under artificial conditions. Major Allan Brooks has told me that in his 
opinion the male Gadwall is somewhat more domestic in disposition than the males 
of other ducks, meaning thereby that the male stays longer with the incubating 
female. I am not certain that this is actually so, for the females, being such late 
nesters, tend to keep the males on the breeding places longer anyway. Wetmore 
(1921) at Bear River, Utah, occasionally saw a male accompanying the female and 
brood, but thinks such instances are very exceptional. Most males leave the females 
toward the middle or end of the incubation and begin to take on the eclipse plumage 
by the last of May or early June. Bent says that this plumage is not complete until 
around August 10, and he has seen it as late as September 8. 

Status. It is very difficult to compare the numbers of this species at present 
taken, because in many places it is so uncommon, and so easily confused with other 
ducks that it does not appear on the record books of shooting clubs or on market 
lists. The Gadwall differs from other northern-hemisphere ducks in being almost 
everywhere a comparatively uncommon bird. Forbush (1912) thinks that it was 
once not uncommon in New England, but I find very little evidence to support this 
opinion. No doubt there have always been times when small flights touched New 
England, as happened in October, 1904, at Merrymeeting Bay, Maine (Norton, 
1916). The only specimen I ever saw or shot at Wenham Lake, Massachusetts, in 
twenty -two years was taken on October 26 of that same year. 

The only accurate figures which I have for eastern Canada are those for the Long 
Point Club, on the northern shore of Lake Erie. No records of the Gadwall were 
kept before the year 1907. Between 1907 and 1920, out of a total of 61,063 ducks 
shot, only 60 were Gadwall (about 0.1%). At the Monroe Marsh Shooting Club 
(western end of Lake Erie) out of a total of 40,615 ducks taken in the autumn season 
between the years 1885 and 1901, only 174 Gadwall appear (0.4%). Out of 12,330 
ducks shot there in the spring over the same period only three Gadwall were taken, 
at first sight showing quite conclusively that this species takes a more western 



course in its flight back to the breeding grounds, but on account of restrictive laws 
I find that the spring records are not comparable with the autumn ones. Near 
Delavan, Wisconsin, of 1167 ducks shot in the autumn seasons of 1892 to 1899 only 
ten were Gadwall (Hollister, 1920). The report of the Minnesota Game Commission 
for 1919 to 1920 shows that between 5000 and 6000 Gadwall are killed in that 
State annually. This is only about 0.1% of the total. 

Along the coasts of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and 
Virginia the Gadwall becomes increasingly more frequent in the autumn as one goes 
south, but it does not become at all common until one reaches Virginia and the Caro- 
linas. Here the great fresh-water sounds are better adapted to it, and records of con- 
siderable interest are available. At the Swan Island Club (Currituck, North Carolina) 
between the years 1909 and 1918 out of a total of over 24,000 ducks, 753 were Gad- 
wall (3 + %). At the Princess Anne Club a few miles farther north in Virginia over 
a period of twenty -eight years only 253 are recorded, representing less than 1 %, but 
for the first seven years they were not distinguished from other ducks. Twenty miles 
farther south, at the Currituck Club the records were carefully kept between the 
years 1888 and 1910. They show that the Gadwall represented about 5.5% of the 
total number of ducks taken. The years 1911 to 1918 show no appreciable change, the 
annual number of Gadwall being from 152 to 332. The largest season in twenty-nine 
years was that of 1917-18. At the Narrows Island Club, only a short distance 
away, 908 are recorded for eighteen years of shooting (less than 4%) and there is no 
evidence of any recent lessening of the annual bag. At the Santee Club (mouth 
of the Santee River, South Carolina) from 15 to 45 Gadwall are taken each year in 
an annual total of 2500 to 3000 ducks, that is, about 1%, considerably less than in 
North Carolina. But these last records have probably not been kept so well as 
farther north where the sportsmen have more intelligent assistants. In the inter- 
mediate territory, on the more salty sounds of Albemarle and Pamlico, Gadwall 
are extremely rare. An artificial pond at a club on Pea Island, Dare County, North 
Carolina, contains a very few in seasons when the water is fresh, but none at all if 
the ocean breaks through and makes the water brackish. At the Canaveral Club 
near Titusville, Florida, Gadwall represent less than 2% of all ducks shot in the 
past thirteen years. 

On the Gulf coast of western Florida, McAtee found it the commonest duck at 
St. Vincent’s Island in January and abundant in the autumn. It is also plentiful 
on the coast of Louisiana. An idea of its numbers there may be gained from an 
estimate made of the ducks brought to the New Orleans market in the season 
1913-14. Of a total of 283,435 ducks about 15,620 were Gadwall (about 6%). The 
species seems to be equally common on the Gulf coast of Texas, where in the vicin- 
ity of Fort Brown it was said by Merrill (1878) to be the commonest duck. The U.S. 
Biological Survey field notes show it to be common all along that coast, and near 



Tampico the birds may be seen in thousands (Sanford, Bishop and Van Dyke, 1903). 

The great breeding area in North America centers in North Dakota, where all 
observers have found it extremely abundant, even equalling the Mallard in the 
vicinity of Dawson, where 300 pairs were counted in July (U.S. Biological Survey). 
As far west as Malheur Lake in Oregon as many as 200 pairs were said to be nesting 
in 1915 (Cantwell, U.S. Biological Survey records). On the Bear River marshes of 
Utah it was fifth in order of abundance among breeding ducks, and Wetmore (1921) 
estimated that in the years 1914 to 1916 some 200 pairs nested there annually. In 
New Mexico it was thought that 60 pairs were breeding on Lake Burford, where they 
outnumbered the Mallards, and were the most common breeding ducks (Wetmore, 
1920). Other observers have placed this colony of GadwaU much higher, up to 
2000! (U.S. Biological Survey, field notes). On migration the species is common 
enough in Colorado and Nevada to equal or outnumber any other kind of duck 
(U.S. Biological Survey, field notes). In the Rio Grande Valley it represented only 
about 2% of a hunter’s bag (Leopold, 1919). An idea as to its much lower status 
in California may be obtained from the market records. In the season of 1895-96, 
only 671 GadwaU as against 47,565 Mallard were brought in to San Francisco mar- 
kets (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918). The Hunters’ Game Transfer Company of 
San Francisco marketed 2942 out of a total of 357,114 ducks in the five seasons from 
1906 to 1911. In the San Francisco market in 1910-11 there were 1299 GadwaU 
out of a total of 185,867 ducks. 

To sum up the evidence for increase or decrease in America from the above data 
and many other notes, it may be said that the GadwaU shows no very great diminu- 
tion in numbers on its wintering grounds and during the last few years it has shown 
an increase in the Mississippi Valley. In Minnesota there are such great variations 
in the numbers of breeding birds, that it is almost impossible to get a correct idea of 
the present status. For instance, it was described as more common than the Mallard 
there in 1880 (Roberts and Benner, 1880) and forty years later it was said to be 
greatly reduced there (Roberts, 1919). In the Edmonton region of Alberta, Mr. 
William Rowan writes me that he considers it still plentiful, although scarcer than 

In the British Isles the GadwaU was always a rare and local \dsitor, until artifi- 
cially induced to nest in Norfolk about 1850, after which it became for a time quite 
common locally. In the last thirty years it is steadily decreasing again, at least as a 
breeding bird (Millais, 1902; Stonham, 1908). In Scotland it was not known to 
breed untU fifteen years ago, but since that time it seems to have slowly increased 
(Baxter and Rintoul, 1920). An idea of its general status in England may be 
obtained from the fact that out of 96,000 ducks taken in the thirty-five years 
between 1833 and 1867, at the Ashby Decoy, only 22 were GadwaU! 

On the Continent the species seems to be holding its own in Germany, perhaps 



even becoming more common as a breeding bird in central and eastern Germany, 
and in eastern Galicia (von Homeyer, 1881; Prazak, 1898). In France, on the other 
hand, it certainly does not seem to be increasing, and is perhaps becoming even more 
rare than formerly (Ternier and Masse, 1907). I was told by several bird-lovers in 
Holland that it was getting very scarce all over western Europe and that it had 
been taken only once in the Nadermeer Lake, near Amsterdam, in recent years. 

There are too few notes to enable one to establish its status in Asia, but in India it 
is perhaps the most abundant duck in Hindustan. In Bengal it is twice as common 
as all other ducks combined (Baker, 1908)! 

Enemies. So far as known the enemies of the Gadwall are the same as those of 
the Mallard and other surface-feeding ducks. 

Damage. Probably much less damage is done to crops by this species than by 
some of its more numerous relatives. 

Food Value. I have no reason to think that the flesh of the Gadwall differs in 
any way from that of other shoal-water ducks killed under similar conditions. Audu- 
bon classed it as equal to that of the Redhead {Nyroca amcricana) and in only one 
place have I found it mentioned as inferior. Belding and Bendire {fide Grinnell, 
Bryant and Storer, 1918) speak of it as sometimes oily, fishy and inedible in Cali- 
fornia. Others have called attention to a “sedgy” taste. In India its reputation is as 
high as in other parts of the world, and Baker (1908) regards it as not even second 
to the Mallard or Pintail. He says the birds always arrive in India in better condition 
than the Mallard or else they fatten more rapidly after arriving. The fact that the 
Mallard comes a greater distance on migration may perhaps explain this. 

Hunt. The sportsman of our Atlantic coast has little chance to note the char- 
acteristics of this duck, for it does not come very readily to decoys, and is really only 
an accidental portion of the bag. In Europe, too, it is a rare game-bird, taken only 
occasionally in the decoy-pipes, and by the hut-shooters of the French marshes. In 
India as many as eighty have been taken by three guns in one of the great duck 
drives so vividly described by Baker (1908). In these hunts a line of boats is rowed 
slowly the length of one of the large jheels, returning in the evening. A shooter sta- 
tioned in the bow of each boat is kept busy shooting at Gadwall, Pintail, Pochards, 
Cotton Teal and Tree Ducks. Methods of taking Gadwall do not differ from those 
employed in getting at most other kinds of shoal-water ducks. 

Behavior in Captivity. Gadwall are not sufficiently showy birds to be general 
favorities with aviculturalists. But they do extremely well, even though they cannot 



be considered easy birds to breed. In this country few fanciers have been successful 
in rearing them. Of some interest is an old remark by Audubon to the effect that he 
saw a large flock in confinement in Dutchess County, New York, in 1812, which had 
bred many times, and had become quite “domesticated. ” More recently the species 
was bred by Mr. Percy K. Hudson {fide L. S. Crandall, in litt.). The few birds I 
myself have kept, showed themselves very active in display but never went so far 
as even to build a nest. They do not command a high price and can often be bought 
for $6.00 or $8.00 a pair, but hand-reared specimens should be sought for if one 
really wants to breed them, and these of course are more expensive. 

In Europe they bred in the Zoological Gardens in London in 1839 and in many 
subsequent years. The dates of hatching are interesting as being almost all in late 
June or early July (P. L. Sclater, 1880). They have also bred freely in a semi- 
domesticated state on the Duke of Bedford’s estate, and in a number of other 
English parks. 

The length of life of Gadwall kept in the London Gardens was a trifle less than 
that of other common shoal-water ducks. The average of ten birds was four years 
two months, the maximum being ten years two months (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). 
They breed when one year old. Good hand-reared stock is sold in England for about 
forty shillings the pair but they are not easy to get and should be spoken for long 
in advance. 

Hybrids. In the wild state Gadwall very rarely cross with other species, cer- 
tainly less frequently than the Mallard, Black Duck, Widgeon and Pintail. Crosses 
witk the Mallard, Pintail, Shoveller, European and American Widgeon have, how- 
ever, been taken (Suchetet, 1896; Millais, 1902; W. G. Smith, 1887). In captivity 
Rogeron (1903) succeeded in crossing the Gadwall and the Mallard and then mated 
the hybrids with the Pochard (Nyroca ferina). Presumably these triple hybrids 
were sterile, but there is no information on this point. A Mallard-Gadwall hybrid 
has also been mated with the European Widgeon and produced young (Selys, fide 
Fatio, 1904). 


/lA’/lS COUESI (Streets) 

(Plate 27) 


?Anas strepera Forster, Descriptiones Animalium, p. 156, 1844. 

Chaulelasmus strepera, var..^ G. R. Gray, Cat. Birds Tropical Ids., p. 55, 1859. 
Chaulelasmus coiiesi Streets, Bull. Nuttall Ornith. Club, vol. 1, p. 46, 1876. 
Anas couesi Seebohm, History of British Birds, vol. 3, p. 531, 1885. 

Vernacular Name 

English: Coues’s Gadwall. 


Male (type, no. 67,325 in U.S. National Museum, taken on Washington Island, Fanning group, by 
Dr. T. H. Streets, January, 1874): This specimen may not be adult, and is not in very good condi- 
tion. It has the general appearance of Anas strepera in eclipse or half-adult plumage. There is no 
vermiculated appearance except a very small amount on the wing-coverts. The mantle, back, 
breast and under parts are essentially those of a female Gadwall. The head is in such poor condition 
that the colors are scarcely to be made out. The lamellae of the bill are small and closely packed, 
and greatly exceed those in Anas strepera. 

Size much smaller than Gadwall. Wing 199 mm.; bill 37; tarsus 36. 

Female: This is essentially a small female Gadwall, but the greater wing-coverts are not black, and 
the inner part of the speculum is gray, not white, but this might well be a juvenile character. 


Found on Washington and New York Islands, Fanning group (north latitude 6°, west longitude 


This duck has never been found since it was discovered in 1874 by Streets on the 
lake and in the peat-bogs of Washington Island. We do not know whether the 
species still exists, or whether it has been destroyed by the introduction of foreign 
mammals. Mr. R. H. Beck, collecting for the Whitney South Sea Expedition of the 
American Museum of Natural History, will, I hope, soon be able to tell us whether 
or not it is extinct. Dr. Robert Cushman Murphy tells me that he has recently 
received a letter from Dr. Ball of the Bishop Museum (Honolulu) in which it is stated 
that the Bishop Museum during its expedition to the island in the summer of 1922 
could not find the bird. 


(Plate 28) 


Anas falcata Georgi, Reise Russ. Reichs, vol. 1, p. 167, 1775. 

Anas falcaria Pallas, Reise Russ. Reichs, vol. 3, p. 701, 1776. 

Anas javana Boddaert, Tabl. des Planches Enluminees, p. 55, 1783. 

Anas javanensis Bonnaterre, Encyclop. Methodique, vol. 1, p. 160, pi. 39, fig. 3, 1791. 
Anas drepanopteros Pallas, Zoographia Rosso-Asiatica, vol. 2, p. 259, 1811. 

Aix falcaria Boie, Oken’s Isis, 1828, col. 329. 

Qnerquedida falcaria Eyton, Monograph Anatidse, p. 126, 1838. 

Querquedula falcata G. R. Gray, Genera of Birds, pt. 3, p. 616, 1845. 

Querquedula javana G. R. Gray, Genera of Birds, pt. 3, p. 616, 1845. 

Querquedula drepanopterus Bonaparte, Revue Critique, p. 103, 1850. 

Querquedula javanensis Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 650, 

Eunetta falcata Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 650, 1856. 
Mareca falcata Cassin, Expedition Amer. Squadron China Seas and Japan, vol. 2, 
p. 231, 1856. 

Querquedula multicolor R. Swinhoe {nec Scopoli), Ibis, ser. 1, vol. 2, p. 67, 1860. 

Veknacular Names 

English: Falcated Teal, Crested Teal, Bronze-capped Teal. 

German: Sichelente, Sichelflugelige Ente, Sichelfbrmige Kriechente. 

French: Canard cercle. Canard a fauciUe. 

Italian: Anitra falcata. 

Croatian: Patka srpasta. 

Czech: Cirka srpopera. 

Polish: Kaczka grzechotka. 

Swedish: Practand. 

Hungarian: Sarlos recze. 

Russian: Utka kosatchca, Kassatoi-selesenn, Rasskrassivi-seleseni. 

Yakut: Chapry-kogoni. 

Japanese: Yoshigamo. 

Hindu: Kala sinkhar. 




Adult Male: Ctowti deep chestnut; sides of the liead bronze-purple, greener posteriorly; a long 
green mane on the back of the nape; throat and upper part of the neck white, intersected below by a 
green collar; mantle and upper scapulars with narrow crescentic bands of gray and blackish; rump 
blackish; basal upper tail-coverts gray, vermiculated with black, the longer ones black and entirely 
hiding the tail; upper breast w’aved with alternate crescentic bars of black and white, producing a 
regular scaled appearance; lower breast whitish, each feather with black bars, one of which is sub- 
terminal; sides, flanks, and abdomen waved wdth narrow' black and grayish bands; under tail-coverts 
black, very long, and reaching beyond the tail; on each side of the under tail-coverts a very distinct 
buff patch, the bases of the feathers being black, showing a beautiful black bar, which separates the 
buffy patch from another silky white band formed by the tip of lowest flank feathers; scapulars gray, 
narrow’ly w'aved with black, and more or less distinctly whitish on the edges; a black patch on the 
outer scapulars; w'ing-coverts gray, the last row whitish; wing speculum on the secondaries dark 
glossy green, bounded below by a narrow wdiitish band at the tip of the secondaries; tertials very long 
and narrow, sickle-shaped, with the shafts whitish, the webs velvety glossy black, the edges and 
parts of the inner webs gray; quills dark gray, almost blackish toward the tip; under wing-coverts 
white, but the greater ones gray; axillars w'hite; tail-feathers gray, with narrow white edge (Salvadori, 

Iris dark browm. Bill dark horn-color, almost black. Legs and feet yellow'ish to dull bluish gray. 
(Live specimen at Wenham.) 

Wing 225-242 mm.; tarsus 37-40; bill 41. 

Adult Female: Superficially resembles female of Anas strepera, but head has a crest and the specu- 
lum has no posterior white patch. Rump and upper tail-feathers of Anasfalcala banded with fulvous, 
but unbanded in the Gadwall. Upper breast darker than abdomen and with dark crescentic bands. 
Upper side has the feathers conspicuously banded and edged with fulvous. 

Colors of soft parts as in male, but culmen more or less freckled w'ith black; lower mandible yellow 
in the Gadwall, and black in the present species. 

Wing 227 mm.; bill 39; tarsus 37-39. 

Adult Male in Eclipse Plumage (see plate) : Wing with the new feathers similar to breeding 
(winter) plumage; mantle, scapulars, and back dark brown with a very few maculated white-and- 
black feathers scattered through the mantle. Tail slate-colored. Head like that of adult female, but 
slightly iridescent on occiput. Lower surface very much like female Gadwall : yellowish white spotted 
with brown, the spots large on the breast. The tertials are only as long as the fourth primary and are 
plain-colored (specimen from northeastern Siberia, September 7, 1900, in American Museum of 
Natural History). 

Young Male (in .January): Still has some brown feathers in the mantle. Sickle-feathers not yet 
developed, although rest of plumage is very nearly adult. The plumage is said to be practieally 
complete by the beginning of March (St. Quintin, 1917) but I do not believe this holds true for all 
young males. 

Young Female: Like adult, but without elongated feathers at the back of the head. Tertials 
browner, and speculum less brilliant. 

Young in Down: Said by Mr. St. Quintin to resemble closely the young of the European W'idgeon, 
but the sides of the head reddish and the bill longer and stouter. The line through the eye is not well 

Plate 28 




defined and there is no aural spot nor any line ejstending backward from the angle of the mouth. 
As the ducklings grow the red on the cheeks vanishes. The young of Anas penelope are very often 
red on the cheeks, and have no face stripes. 


The Falcated Teal is a migratory species whose habitat is eastern Asia, east of the Jenesei (Pallas, 
1831). I have been unable to find any specific record of its occurrence on the Jenesei, or anywhere in 
this region west of Irkutsk, where it is quite common (Radde, 1863). A. von Middendorff (1853) says 
that at Dudino on the Jenesei (69° 30' north latitude) a duck answering the description of the pres- 
ent species was said to have been taken, but this seems to me to be so far north as to 
be hardly more than a straggler. Suschkin (1913) also says it straggles to Minussinsk 
on the upper Jenesei, and breeds rarely on the lower Jenesei. Dresser (1871-81) describes an egg 
said to have come from Tolstoi Mir on the Jenesei. In Transbaikalia it is an abundant species 
(Radde, 1863; Dybowski and Parre.v, 1868; Lonnberg, 1909). Maak (1859) found it on the Chilka 
River and at Nerchinsk, but farther north it was rare on the lower Wiljui. Pawlowski also saw 
specimens on the Wiljui {fide Taczanowski, 1893), but it does not appear that the species goes 
farther north than about 65° north latitude to breed (Buturlin, 1908). Bunge and Toll (1887) ob- 
tained a specimen at Werchojansk, but were told that it was rare so far north. So far as I know 
this is the northernmost record. Farther east specimens were taken at Gichiga Kamchatka 
(J. A. Allen, 1905) and in Kamchatka, where the species is a regular but not common 
summer visitor (Stejneger, 1885). Stejneger thinks it may possibly breed on Bering Island, where 
specimens have been seen on passage. Hartert (1920) has recorded a number of speci- 
mens taken on the Commander Islands in April and May. The United States Na- jgian(js 
tional Museum possesses a specimen from Copper Island, and recently the species 
has been included in the list of North American birds on the strength of a specimen taken on St. 
George’s Island, Pribilov group, on April 18, 1917 (Hanna, 1920). 

In eastern Asia the Falcated Teal is evidently most abundant as a breeder in the Stanowoi Moun- 
tains and along the course of the Amur (A. von Middendorff, 1853; Radde, 1863; von Schrenck, 
1859). Various observers have found it on Saghalin Island, where it undoubtedly breeds (Taczan- 
owski, 1893; Lonnberg, 1908; Hesse, 1915). It occurs also on the Kurile Islands and on Yezo 
(Lonnberg, 1908) but I am unable to say whether or not it breeds there. On the 
mainland it nests throughout the Ussuri Province, particularly at Lake Chanka 
(Prjevalski, 1878). The Vettor Pisani Expedition took a specimen in immature plumage not far 
from Vladivostok. Whether or not the species nests in Manchuria seems to be an open question. 
Ingram (1909) met with it in the Chingan Mountains in June, and Baker (1908) 
claims to have notes of its nesting in Manchuria. Hume and Marshall (1879) state 
that it breeds in eastern Mongolia, their authority probably being Prjevalski (1878) who says some 
occasionally nest in the Ordos region of the Hoang-ho. Such occurrences must, I think, be very 
exceptional, since even in Korea the species is not known to breed (Taczanowski, 1893). 

In winter the Falcated Teal is common throughout the Japanese archipelago (Blakiston and Pryer, 
1882; Seebohm, 1890) from Yezo south. The American Museum of Natural History has a number 
of specimens collected in southeastern Korea in January, and it is common in Hupeh in winter (La 
Touche, 1922). It is equally well known and widely distributed in China, whence it japan 
has been recorded for Peking (David and Oustalet, 1877; Walton, 1903), Kiau-chow 
(Kleinschmidt, 1913), Shanghai (Wade, 1895), Chin-kiang and Nanking (La Touche, 

1913), Kiu-kiang (Styan, 1891) and Foochow and Swatow (La Touche, 1892; Kellogg, 1919). 
R. Swinhoe (1863), Uchida (1912) and others have recorded its presence in Formosa. Its status in 
western China is very uncertain; but it is now quite clear that it winters regularly to some extent 






in upper Burma and in northeastern and even north-central India. The first record for this region 
is, I believe, that of J. Anderson (1878) who reported specimens taken by the Yunnan Mission 
at Tamilone, on the Taipeng River in upper Burma, February, 1875. Shortly after, Hume and 
Marshall (1879) recorded five specimens, of which two were from the Lucknow region, two from the 
district about Delhi, and one from the Calcutta Market. Finn (1909) and Baker (1908) have shown 
that the species is present in northeastern India and Burma in greater numbers than 
is generally supposed. Specimens have been taken near Bhamo and Kindat in upper 
Burma, twice in Manipur, and once near Kyaukpyu, Arakan. Several have been shot in Assam and 
Tirhut, and during the winters from 1898-1902 the species was sometimes quite common in the 
Calcutta Market. Other specimens have been recorded from Bhawalpur, Jessore, and 
even the Narra Valley, Sind (Baker, 1908; Finn, 1909; Hopwood, 1912). It is impossi- 
ble to determine at present the western limit of this bird’s range. A specimen was taken by the 
.\fghan Delimitation Commission at Bala-Morghab, Badghis, and the species is said by Zarudny 
(1911) to winter rarely in Persia (Parapamis Mountains, Seistan and Kuhistan- 
Kirman) and in northern Baluchistan! A male was shot at Hanna on the Euphrates 
River in March, 1916 (Ticehurst, Buxton and Cheesman, 1922). 

There are also sev'eral records of its occurrence in Europe. Specimens have been taken in 
Sweden (Dresser, 1871-81) and in Hungary (Dresser, 1871-81), as well as in Bohemia 
(Fritsch, 1872) and possibly in England, if any weight is to be given a remark made 
by Pallas (1831). 






Very little information and few dates are available for a study of the migration of these ducks. 
According to Dybowski and Parrex (1868) they arrive in Dauria in April. Prjevalski (1878) states 
that they appear at Lake Hanka from the middle of March to the middle of April, at which latter 
date Radde (1863) saw them arrive on the middle Amur. They appeared at Utskoi-Ostrog on May 
3 (A. von Middendorff, 1853) and at Nikolaievsk on May 18 (von Schrenck, 1859). On the upper 
Amur they did not appear until early June. In autumn they leave early, disappearing from the Amur 
region evidently in late September and early October. Radde (1863) says he found none in the 
market of Irkutsk after September 17. According to Dybowski and Parrex (1868) some stay in 
Dauria till late December! It is an interesting fact that of the specimens taken in Burma and India 
a great majority are females (Finn, 1909). 


Haunts. This rather peculiar duck, which may be thought of as related both to 
the Common Teal {Anas crecca) and to the Gadwall {Anas strepera) has been given 
very little space in the literature. It is therefore difficult to make any general com- 
parison of its habits with those of other northern migrants. The great breeding area 
seems to be in Transbaikalia and along the course of the Amur. 

Wariness. Judging by the specimens which I myself have kept I should say 
that these ducks are very shy and secretive, for when first placed on an enclosed 
pond they refuse to come near the water, are seldom seen and hide throughout the 
entire day. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Flight. The Falcated Teal lacks much of the ele- 




p X 







o nr 

Jo &.£i 





.5 cc 







gance of the true Teal or the Mallard. It appears short, chunky and large-headed for 
a surface-feeding duck. The long sickle-shaped tertials and short tail give the body 
a very stumpy appearance. Heinroth (1911) says that a male in the Berlin Gardens 
always kept his head and neck well drawn in, so that the mane lay on the upper part 
of his back. The writer never saw these crest-feathers lifted, and the impression 
created was more like that of a diving duck. 

There are no recorded observations as to the flight, except that it is said to be 
swift and Teal-like which probably means that it is more erratic than that of the 
Mallard. In Assam it appears singly or in pairs, more rarely in small parties. But 
in northern China, Prjevalski (1878) speaks of their arriving on spring migration in 
large numbers and associating very commonly with other species of ducks. 

Voice. The voice of the male is a short low trilling whistle (Walton, 1903) or, 
according to Prjevalski (1878), a “tolerably loud and piercing whistle.” Although I 
have only once or twice heard the note myself I agree with Heinroth (1911) that it is 
decidedly Teal-like. The note of the female is the typical Mallard-like quack, said 
to be five times repeated (Finn, 1915). 

The trachea of the male is about 180 mm. long, and at its bifurcation carries a 
bulla ossea which is roughly spherical in shape and faces to the left and forward. 
It measures 23 mm. in longest diameter and 16 mm. in shortest diameter. 

Food. There are no detailed notes available, but the food seems to be largely 
of a vegetable nature (Stejneger, 1885; Radde, 1863). 

Courtship and Nesting. The time of breeding, so far as one can judge, is not 
particularly early. They are said to nest early in June in Transbaikalia (Taczan- 
owski, 1873) and in eastern Siberia they begin to nest in late May (Taczanowski, 
1893) continuing through June and perhaps into July (Baker, 1908). In captivity 
they nest very late indeed; in Mr. Hugh Wormald’s collection later than any other 
duck except the Ring-necked Teal. June 1 was his earliest date. 

The display as observed in captivity was first noticed by Finn (1915a). He 
described it as essentially like that of typical ducks, but the erection of the long 
crest made the head look enormous. He continues: “There was the same rear-up, 
with the head bent down, followed by an up-jerk of the hind parts; the long sickle- 
shaped tertials, so noticeable in this species, seemed little if at all expanded, and were 
not so prominent in the display as one would have expected from their abnormal 
character. But what especially attracted my attention, as I had noted the display 
of the male of this duck some time before, was that the females displayed simulta- 
neously with the males, and with the same gestures.” 

Mr. McLean of East Dereham told me that the display reminded him very much 
of the Gadwall’s, with the same up-and-back head throw. 



The nest, so far as known, is always on the ground, in swamps and along the low- 
lying banks of the larger rivers. It is rather well built, of leaves, grass or rushes, 
compactly put together and lined with a very heavy complement of down. It is said 
to be not particularly well hidden, but hard to get at on account of the treacherous 
nature of the ground (Taczanowski, 1873; Baker, 1908). 

The eggs are from six to nine in number, probably averaging eight. They are 
smaller than the Mallard’s and are colored like those of the Gadwall, although the 
yellow tinge is somewhat more pronounced (Taczanowski, 1893). The average of 
twenty-one eggs measured by Jourdain was 56.2 by 39.65 mm., the maximum 58.5 
by 39 mm. and 55 by 41.5 mm., the minimum 53 by 41 mm. and 57 by 38 mm. 
(Hartert, 1920). The length of the incubation period is twenty-four to twenty -five 
days under artificial conditions (Wormald). Baker (1908) seems to think that the 
drake assists, at least occasionally, in the duties of incubation, but I hesitate in 
attributing such habits to the males of any palsearctic duck. Baker also says that 
the male is seldom found far from the nest. 

Food Value. Excellent for the table, according to Walton (1903). 

Hunt. Even to this day these birds are probably little disturbed over the greater 
part of the breeding area. But along the coasts of Japan and southern China they 
are undoubtedly hunted on an increasingly large scale. Great numbers were killed 
in the Peking region over forty years ago, especially in spring (David and Oustalet, 
1877), and more recently a great many have been shipped from Hankow to the 
markets of Europe (Ghidini, 1911). 

Behavior in Captivity. A live specimen of the Falcated Teal was imported 
and kept by Latham in England before 1785 (Latham, 1785) but the bird has never 
been common in collections until within thirty or forty years. The London Gardens 
received some eight specimens of both sexes in 1874 (P. L. Sclater, 1880, 1883) but 
they never bred there. The average longevity of these eight birds and one received 
in 1892 was only eighteen months, the maximum being fifty months (P. C. Mitchell, 
1911). In England the species has been bred by a few of the more expert avicultural- 
ists, and Mr. St. Quintin was the first of these. Earl Grey of Falloden has been 
kind enough to write me of his experiences with this species. Some years ago he 
bought a pair of adult birds which never became tame, were seldom seen or heard, 
and never bred. He considered them the “ dullest, most uninteresting water-fowl ” 
he had ever kept. I quote from his letter ; 

“In 1917, in the early autumn, a pair of young Falcated Teal, reared by Mr. St. 
Quintin in Yorkshire, were given me. For some weeks they were very shy and I could 
only see them occasionally late in the evening. Gradually they got very tame and 
came regularly to feed both on land and on water. In January, 1918, the drake was 



very noisy and it was very interesting to watch him and listen to him. He had two 
separate whistles, each frequently uttered, but each very distinct; each of these 
whistles had its own particular gesture, each gestme very pronounced, even ludi- 
crous in appearance, but very distinct. Besides these I heard two other separate 
whistles, one without any gesture, but these were not frequent and the courting 
display I considered to consist of the two separate whistles and attitudes first de- 
scribed. The drake kept up this courting display till I left home in March and no 
doubt continued it after that. The duck was very quiet and unresponsive and there 
was no nest in 1918. 

“In January, 1919, the conduct of the drake was the same, but the duck was 
clamorous and made loud harsh noises. She nested in the spring and reared four 
birds, two drakes and two ducks. 

“In January, 1920, all three drakes were noisy and demonstrative, but only the 
old duck was so. The two young ducks were quiet as their mother had been the first 
year. The old duck either nested very late or had her first nest destroyed and nested 
again, for it was not until late in July that she appeared on the water with a brood, 
of which only one, a duck, was reared. The two young ducks did not nest in 1920. 

“In January, 1921, the same courting display began, but this time all three ducks 
were noisy and demonstrative. At this time for some weeks the three pairs of Fal- 
cated Ducks were the most noisy and amusing birds on the ponds; and being very 
tame the courting display could be watched as near as two or three yards distance; 
indeed the appearance of a spectator seemed sometimes to start a display. The 
youngest female, that reared in 1920, took no part or interest in the proceedings. 

“At the moment of writing, June 12, 1921, no brood of Falcated has yet appeared, 
but certainly one and probably more than one, of the ducks has a nest.” 

W. H. St. Quintin (1917) describes one of his females who laid five eggs in June, 
1916. The nest was disturbed and three of the eggs broken, but the remaining two 
were placed under a hen, apparently on June 12, and were hatched on July 3. Others 
were reared on the same estate in the summer of 1918, and were allowed to grow their 
wings and escape (London Field, vol. 133, p. 12, 1919). Mr. Blaauw tells me he has 
never bred this duck and it has never been reared in the London Gardens. At Kew 
Gardens a male crossed with a female Gadwall {Anas strepera) and produced young 
(Finn, 1917). 

In this country the species was very rarely brought over until about the year 1909, 
when I saw ten or fifteen pairs in the yards of a dealer, G. D. Tilley, of Darien, 
Connecticut. If I remember correctly, these were offered at about $35.00 or $40.00 
the pair. Of late years more have been imported through the markets of San 
Francisco, so that the price has not been exorbitant. Some that I purchased in the 
spring of 1921 were only $15.00 per pair. The New York Gardens obtained them 
during and before the War for about the same figure. In the years 1919-20 thirty 


arrived at California from the Orient, aceording to figures in the U.S. Biologieal 
Survey records. 

I do not think that Falcated Teal have ever bred in America. They seem to be 
what one might call “soft” in captivity and those I received from California arrived 
in wretched condition, although Formosan Teal {Anas for mosa) in the same crate, 
were fat and in good feather. Most of my birds died within the first few weeks .so 
that I had no opportunity to make observations upon them or to record their dis- 
play or voice. They were silent and kept so carefully concealed that they never 
came on to the water except at night. Certainly wild specimens are among the most 
peculiar ducks in this respect. Finn (1915) also found them quiet and uninterest- 
ing birds for the aviary, but hand-reared stock behaves in a more satisfactory man- 
ner, as I saw for myself in Hugh Wormald’s collection at East Dereham, Norfolk. 

Hybrids. A wild hybrid between this species and Casarca frrrnginea was taken 
near Vladivostok (Suchetet, 1896). H. C. Robinson (1918) de.scribes a duck shot in 
Assam which he believes to be a hybrid between this species and the Gadwall. 
Mr. N. Kuroda {in litt.) has captured three crosses or hybrids between this and 
the European Widgeon, in his decoy-pond at Haneda, near Tokio, Japan, between 
1907 and 1922 (see Tori, vol. 3, pi. 5, 1923). Gadwall hybrids were produced in 
captivity in Kew Gardens, England, as mentioned above. 


(Plate 29) 


Anas penelope Linne, Systema Naturae, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 126, 1758. 

Anas cogolca S. G. Gmelin, Reise durch Russland, vol. 1, p. 70, 1770. 

Anas kogolca S. G. Gmelin, Nov. Comm. Petrop., vol. 15, p. 468, 1771. 

"^Anas melanura Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 516, 1788. 
A nas fist ular is Brehm (ex Brisson), Oken’s Isis, 1830, col. 997. 

Mareca fistularis Stephens, General Zook, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 131, 1824. 

?Mareca melanura Stephens, General ZooL, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 134, 1824. 

Penelops penelops Kaup, Natiirl. Syst., p. 31, 1829. 

Anas kagolca Brehm, Oken’s Isis, 1830, col. 997. 

Mareca penelope Selby, British Ornith., vol. 2, p. 324, 1833. 

Mareca kagolka Brehm, Naumannia, 1855, p. 297. 

Mareca fistulans Brehm, Naumannia, 1855, p. 297. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Wigeon (male in old English), Whewer (female in old English), European 
Widgeon, Whim, Whistler, Half Duck, Smee Duck, Easterlings, Red-headed 
Widgeon, Yellow-poll. 

French: Canard siffleur, Mareque siffleur, Sarcelle double, Siffleur penelope, Vingeon, 
Vignon, Wuiot, Oignard, Rougeot. 

German: Pfeifente, Mittelente, Blassente, Rotente, Rothals, Speckente, Schmiiente, 
Weissstirn, Braunente, Doppelkricke, Grasente. 

Gaelic: Glas-lach, Lacha lachlannach. 

Dutch: Smient, Fliuteend, Smink. 

Danish: Pibeand, Blisand, Lysand, Brunnakke, Blyand. 

Swedish: Blasand, Brunnacke, Blasa, Hvitback. 

Norwegian: Brunnake, Pipand, Graesand, Lyngand. 

Faroes: Andt. 

Icelandic: Raudhofda-bnd, Raudhbfda-grabnd, Rauddufu-bnd. 

Finnish: Haapana, Viurus uorsa, Kirnulintu. 

Lapplandish: Snartal. 

Lettish: Schwukschkis. 



Esthonian: Murulas. 

Russian: Swijas, Swestund, Glott. 

Polish: Kaczka swistun. 

Croatian: Patka zvizdara. 

Czech: Kachna hvizdak. 

Hungarian: FUtyiilo recze, Sipos recze. 

Bulgarian: Swiratshka, Puwka. 

Italian: Fishione, Morigiana, Bibbio, Penelope, Fistione, Capo-rosso. 

Sardinian: Busciu. 

Maltese: Silfiun. 

Spanish: Anade silbador, Piulo, Pato franciscano, Silbon, Pato florentino, Pato 

Basque: Christulari-ata. 

Portuguese: Assobiadeira, Piadeira, Alfanado, Sarafanada. 

Arabic: Fela bajh. 

Hindu: Peasan, Patari, Pharia. 

Ostiak: Lopte. 

Tartar: Bojul. 

Japanese: Hidorigamo. 


Adult Male: Forehead and crown light buff, rest of head and neck dark burnt-sienpa color, minutely 
speckled here and there with black, and behind the eye and on occiput with iridescent green. Chin, 
throat and lower side of neck more or less black, sometimes entirely so, but this varies greatly. 
Mantle, back, and scapulars finely vermiculated with wavy black and white bars. Ends of upper 
tail-coverts nearly white. Tail slate-colored, the central feathers long and pointed. Breast vinaceous, 
often with a few small blackish bars, this wine color extending farther on the sides than in middle of 
breast. Remainder of under surface pure white, except the sides and flanks which are vermiculated 
like the scapulars. Under tail-coverts jet black. Wing-coverts white, except a few at the angle of the 
wing, which are gray, and a black band at the tip of the greater ones. Speculum on the secondaries 
metallic green, bounded posteriorly by a black band. The inner secondaries are white on the outer 
web. Tertials rather long; black on their outer webs, with a white margin. Primaries brown; under 
wing-coverts gray; axillars white, thickly speckled with gray, especially on inner web. 

Irides dark brown. Bill bright slate-blue, with the tip black. Legs and feet yellowish brown to 
bluish; webs dusky. There is a good deal of variation in the color of the legs. 

Wing 254-266 mm.; bill 33-38; tarsus 37-41. 

Weight from 1 pound 12 ounees to 2 pounds (0.8 to 0.95 kilograms); probably a trifle heavier 
at times. 

.\dult Female: Whole head and neck a ruddy brown, or brown ochre, thickly dotted with blackish. 
Upper parts brown. The mantle is a gray brown, sometimes nearly plain-colored but often with 
lighter cross-bars. The edges of the scapulars are ruddy brown and the long ones are tipped with 

Plate 29 




white. Breast of nearly same color as head, very indistinctly banded with blackish; flanks reddish 
brown. Rest of lower surface pure w'hite. Under tail-coverts white, with some black bars. Wing- 
coverts gray, tipped with white. Speculum black, rump gray, tail dark browm. Under wing-coverts 
and axillars as in male. The bright rusty-colored head fades by the spring so that it may become 
almost, if not quite as gray as in the American Widgeon. Some birds, apparently young of the year, 
have very gray heads. 

Iris dark brown. Bill slate-blue. Legs and feet as in male. 

Wing 232-245 mm.; bill 31-34; tarsus 37-40. 

Weight: almost half a pound (0.22 kilograms) lighter than the male. 

Female in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Very closely resembles adult female, but the tail-feathers 
are shorter and blunter at the tips. I am not sure that I can always tell the young from the adult 
female by plumage alone, but Lord Percy tells me that he can tell young specimens by their 
“plainer” appearance, and by the difference in the outer wing-coverts. 

Young Male in First Plumage: Similar to young female but a few more or less vermiculated 
feathers soon begin to appear on the mantle, together with some green on the speculum. Before ver- 
miculation is apparent, the differences are very subtle. Lord Percy, who has bred many and handled 
them at the age of seven weeks, says he had no difficulty in picking out the sexes. The characters 
he used were size, a richer color of the browns in the males, and characteristic light-colored bars 
on the mantle feathers of males. To the ordinary observer the sexes would probably appear identical 
at so early an age. 

Young Male in First Winter: Wing-coverts gray. The complete white wing patch never assumed 
until spring, and not always until later than that. 

Male in Eclipse: In general appearance like the adult female, but the black markings on the cheeks, 
chin and throat are apt to be more accentuated. The flanks are much richer in color than those of the 
female, as are also the mantle and the scapular region. Vermiculated feathers may still be present 
on the mantle or among the scapulars. The white wing patch is the same as in the winter 

Downy Young: Differs from the young of the Mallard in the complete absence of an orbital stripe, 
and the much darker, almost jet black, of the upper surface, particularly the top of the head and the 
back. The sides of the head are more rufous, and not so yellow as in the Mallard, and the wing patch 
is brown instead of yellowish. The rump and scapular patches are certainly smaller than in the 
Mallard, but they are not absent. The head and bill are smaller than in the young Mallard. Com- 
pared to the American Widgeon these downy young are darker and grayer above and rather whiter 
below while the sides of the head are more rust-colored and less yellowish. I am not sure that these 
characters w'ould hold in every case for the down color of young ducks is rather variable. 


Breeding Range 

The Widgeon is a far-northern breeder and a far-southern winterer, and is consequently found 
throughout a wide latitude in the Old, and to some extent also in the New World. The species breeds 
north to 71° north latitude or even farther, and southward to 45° or even 42° though only occasion- 
ally south of 60°, excepting in eastern Europe and western Siberia. 



In Iceland it is a not rare breeder (Hantzsch, 1905; Millais, 1902), but only a few breed on the 








Faroes (Muller, Millais, 1902). Saxby (1874) some time ago recorded numerous 
instances of its breeding on the Shetlands, but the only recent record is for 1897 
(Baxter and Rintoul, 1920a). In the British Isles it is not known to have bred in 
Ireland, but very likely does so in some of the northern counties, where young have 
been taken (Ussher and Warren, 1900). In Scotland it is increasing as a breeder, and 
has been recorded as nesting successively in the Orkneys, in Sutherland abundantly, in Inverness, 
Cromarty, Ross, Caithness, Perth, Kinross, Dumfries, commonly in Selkirk, in Moray, Kincardine, 
Argyll and Roxburgh (Baxter and Rintoul, 1920a). In England it has nested only very exceptionally. 
Stonham (1908) says it has bred in East York, Cheshire, Norfolk and Sussex, and Baxter and Rintoul 
(1920a) state that it has nested in Cumberland also. According to the British Ornithologists’ Union 
Checklist (1915) it breeds occasionally in northern England and also in Wales. On the Continent 
the species has been variously reported as breeding in about every country, but all records in western 
Holland Europe south of 57° are to be regarded as unusual. Such are those for Holland (Schlegel, 
1859; de Vries, Ardea, vol. 10, p. 33, 1921), and for France, where the species occa- 
sionally nests in the swamps according to Degland (1849), and in Franche-Comte 
(Ternier and Masse, 1907). D’Hamonville (1895) says a few breed in Lorraine, apparently regu- 
larly, but this statement seems questionable. It has even been reported nesting in the Camargue 
(J. von Muller, 1856). In Italy the species evidently nests not so very rarely in the 
Province of Venice, as has been variously reported by many authors, most reliably by 
Giglioli’s (1886) correspondents, as well as by Arrigoni degli Oddi (1898) and Picchi (1904). There 
seems to be no doubt of its having bred a few times at Pavia and at Piacenza, as Giglioli (1889-91) 
reports on the testimony of Arrigoni degli Oddi, and also at Massarosa, Tuscany (Gragnani, reported 
by Giglioli, 1889). The species may have bred even in northern Sardinia at Sorso, Sassari, if we 
can believe Bonomi (reported by Giglioli, 1889) and Picchi (1898). But even taking this into con- 
sideration it is difficult to credit Loche’s (1867) statement that it breeds in Algeria! 
Farther north it breeds rarely in Germany, in the Provinces of Mecklenburg (Dahl, 
1905; Wiistnei, 1898), the island of Riigen (von Honieyer,^de Naumann, 1896-1905), 
Oldenburg (von Negelein, 1853), Westphalia (Altum, 1830), Brunswick (R. Blasius, 1896), Lusatia 
(Tobias, 1853), Silesia (Floricke, 1891; Kollibay, 1906) and eastern Prussia (Hartert, 1892). It nests 
most commonly in eastern Prussia (Floricke, 1898) and may possibly breed in Bavaria (Naumann, 
Austria 1896-1905). In Bohemia it breeds sparingly (Fritsch, 1872) and is said to breed also 
Hungary on the Danubian Islands of lower Austria (Frauenfeld, fide Naumann, 1896-1905), 
while in Hungary it has bred at Vilagos, Arad Comitat (Madarasz, 1884) and on the Neusiedler Lake 
{fide Naumann, 1896-1905). Seebohm (1885) says he took eggs on the lower Danube, but he gives no 
specific locality; very likely he refers to Transylvania. Sintenis (1877) found the species on Lake 
Sinoe, Danube delta, in May, and it may have been breeding there. Passing north to the regular 
Baltic breeding range I find that the species nests occasionally in Denmark, in northern See- 

Lands land (Kjarbolling, 1850), rarely in southern Norway, but commonly in the north, 

becoming abundant on the Lapland frontier (Schaanning, 1913; Collett, 1873), specifically on the 
Lofotens and Vesteraalen (Boie, 1869), in Tromsb (Hartwig, 1889), on south Varanger (H. J. Pearson, 
1904). In Sweden, according to Wallengren (1853), it breeds rarely south as far as Smaland, more 
commonly in the mountainous provinces of western middle Sweden, as in Bohus and Werm, but 
rarely in eastern middle Sweden (Uppland). It becomes gradually more common farther north until 
in Lapland it appears to be the most abundant breeder, north to Utsjoki and even the Arctic Ocean, 
in south Varanger (Palmen, 1876). In Lapponia Enontekiensis it is very common (Suomalainen, 
1908) and also in southwestern Lapland (Palmen, 1876). Various other writers have recorded it for 
Lapland, Pearson (1904) specifically for the Russian districts. It is the commonest breeding duck 
in western Lapland (Finnila, 1913, 1914; Montell, 1917). On the Kola Peninsula it was found by 



AIap 42. Distribution'! 
Breeding range, dotte< U 
Sporadic records i4 

’ idgeon (Anas penelope) 
e Vinter range, broken line 
k ,ed by crosses ( X ) 

Map 42. 






numerous travelers quoted by Pleske (1886), but it apparently is more common inland than on the 
coasts (A. T. von Middendorff, 1853). On the White Sea, Sahlberg and Malmberg {fide Pleske, 1886) 
found it at Kandalaksk, at the head of the bay of the same name, and throughout eastern Finland 
south through Karelia to the Ladoga region. In southwestern Finland the species breeds quite rarely 
but becomes common in the central and northern parts (Suomalainen, 1908). But Palmgren (1913) 
speaks of it as a common breeding bird about Helsingfors. Dresser (1871-81) says he found it about 
everywhere in Finland and Palmen’s (1876) statement amounts to the same thing, acknowledging, 
of course, its comparative scarcity in the southwest. Because of inadequate information it is quite 
impossible to determine with any great degree of accuracy the southern limit of the breeding range 
in Russia. It is certainly very abundant in the northernmost parts, throughout the 
whole White Sea region, the Archangel Government, the Lower Petchora and east- 
ward to the Urals, becoming ever more common toward the east (Harvie-Brown, 1876). In this 
region it has been specifically recorded for the Karelian coast (Rae, 1881), Archangel (Goebel, 1871 ; 
Liljeborg, 1852; Seebohm, 1882; Alston and Harvie-Brown, 1873; etc.), and the lower Petchora 
(Harvie-Browm, 1876). On the Arctic Sea the species has been found on the Kolguev Island in the 
middle of June (Trevor-Battye, 1895), in Ljamtschina Gulf, Vaigach Island (von Heuglin, 1872) 
and in Sassen Bay, western Spitzbergen (Konig, 1908). Jourdain (1922) recorded it for Bear Isle 
and Spitzbergen but found no nests. Passing southward in Russia, the status of the species in the 
vicinity of Petrograd is very uncertain. According to Sievers (1877) it is a common breeder in 
Olonez Government about Ladoga and Onega, and this seems likely when we consider how commonly 
the species breeds in southeastern Finland. Brandt (1880) says it is numerous about Petrograd in 
summer, but Buchner (1885) proceeds to show that these are flocks consisting of males only and that 
to his knowledge the species does not breed at Petrograd. Personally I believe Deditius (1885) is 
correct in saying that not many breed there; some certainly must, for the species breeds rarely at 
Novgorod, and Goebel (1871) says he saw it on the Volga below Tver in summer. According to 
Loudon (1909) the species is found throughout the summer in all the Baltic Provinces, but these are 
very likely flocks of males, such as occur also in Poland in summer (Taczanovrski, 1888). Eastward 
of the Baltic the breeding range apparently extends farther and farther south, the birds nesting in 
the north in Vologda (Goebel, 1871; Mejakoff, 1856) and in the Perm Government rarely at Ekater- 
inburg but commonly in the southeastern part, and particularly about Shadrinsk. Hoffman has 
recorded it for the Urals, 62° north latitude (Harvie-Brown, 1878). Farther south it breeds over a 
very extended area, commonly in Moscow (Menzbier, 1881; Lorenz, 1892) and in Tula (Menzbier, 
1881; Harvie-Brown, 1878) and even in Tambow (Harvie-Brown, 1878). Farther east it breeds in 
Kazan (Russki, 1893). Bogdanow {fide Dresser, 1871-81) says it breeds in the black-earth districts of 
the Volga, and Moeschler (1853) states that it is very common from March to October and breeds 
about Sarepta, on the lower Volga. This seems not incredible when we turn to the breeding range in 

In the Kirgis the Widgeon seems to be a regular breeder (Nazarow, 1887; Suschkin, 1914) and this 
is very likely its most southern breeding ground. In western Siberia it was found in 
Akmolinsk in June (Bianchi, 1902) and undoubtedly breeds in the whole region about 
the Tobol, Ischim, Irtysch and Ob Rivers, and north of a line drawn from Sarepta, on 
the lower Volga, to the northern shore of Lake Balkasch or the Tarbagatai Mountains. In the dis- 
trict north and east of Lake Balkasch the species was found by Finsch (1879) on the Ala-kul in early 
May, on the Marka-kul in June, and all along the Ob River, where he says it w'as the commonest 
non-diving duck. On the upper Irtysch he met with it at Buchtarminsk in the middle of June, and 
concerning this same region Suschkin (1913) says it breeds at Minussinsk, on the upper Jenesei, and 
on the northern slopes of the Tannu Mountains, in the Russian Altai, in the Saissan-nor lowland, as 
well as in southwestern Siberia. Ushakov (1913) speaks of it as a common breeder in Tobolsk Gov- 
ernment. Farther north Finsch (1879) was told by Slovzoff that it was common on Lake Chany, 



while he himself found it very common along the course of the lower Ob, meeting with it at Obdorsk 
in July; and on the Shchucha River, a confluent of the lower Ob, in August. Eastward Popham 
(1897) found it an abundant breeder on the Jenesei north of Jeneseisk, and it is similarly reported 
for the Jenesei by Seebohm (1879), Suschkin (1913) and Haviland (1915). Palmen (1887) states that 
it extends north to 70° 30' on the Jenesei. Eastward it was found breeding on the Boganida, a tribu- 
tary of the Cheta, in 71° north latitude by A. T. von Middendorff (1853), and farther south on the 
Wiljui River, a large confluent of the Lena, it was found by Pawlowski {fide Taczanowski, 1893). 
Between the Jenesei and the Lena, the species apparently nests everywhere south to the northern 
boundary of Mongolia. Radde (1863) found it breeding on the northern Angara River, in Irkutsk; 
Suschkin (1912) states that it breeds in the Baikal region and in Mongolia. Radde (1863) met with 
it in the eastern Sajan Mountains in late May, and I believe it very probably breeds to some degree 
not only there, but also in Transbaikalia, although Taczanowski (1874) says it is a bird of passage 
there. The status of the species in the region east of Lake Baikal is very vague. Pere David (David 
and Oustalet, 1877) is quite confident that it breeds in “Mongolia” (presumably the southeastern 
part). Prjevalski (1878) says some breed on Lake Hanka. Von Schrenck (1859) states that it is 
common everywhere on the Amur to its mouth, but since most of his dates are for autumn it is more 
than likely that he means on passage. He believes, however, that eggs which he took at Mariinsk, 
on the lower Amur, belong to this species. There is no evidence that this duck has ever bred on 
Saghalin Island, but Borrissow (fide Hesse, 1915) shot it there at Hagdusa in early May, and it may 
very likely breed in the northern part of the island. North of the Amur Government, A. T. von 
Middendorff (1853) found it breeding at Angminsk but says he did not meet with it east of the 
Stanowoi Mountains. Still farther north Bunge and Toll (1887) found it breeding at Werchojansk, 
on the Jana River, and also on the Adytscha River, a tributary of the Jana. According to Palmen 
(1887) it extends north to 71° 20' on the Jana. Eastward Thayer and Bangs (1914) record it as com- 
mon at Nijni Kolimsk, at the mouth of the Kolyma; and at Gichiga, at the head of Gichiga Bay, 
Ochotsk Sea, it breeds, though not commonly (J. A. Allen, 1905). However, it is said to nest com- 
monly at Marsova, on the Anadyr River (J. A. Allen, 1905) and Bianchi (1908) states that specimens 
have been taken on the Maina River, in the Anadyr Basin, on May 29 and June 22. Nelson (1883) 
did not find it on the extreme eastern Arctic coast, but says he believes it must breed on the Aleu- 
tians. There is no adequate proof, however. Elliott (1882), who found it on the Pribilov Islands, says 
it never occurs in pairs, and the specimens met with are evidently stragglers. Dali (1873) says it is 
not uncommon in winter on Unalaska, but migrates about May 1. I am unable to explain this state- 
ment; there is no other information of its having occurred on the Aleutians. It is a numerous but 
irregular visitor on the Commander Islands, but has never been known to breed (Stejneger, 1885; 
Bianchi, 1909; Hartert, 1920). The species has been many times recorded from Kamchatka (von 
Ditmar, 1900; Stejneger, 1885; Bianchi, 1909a) where it is evidently common in spring. I know of 
one record of its having bred (Kuroda, in litt.), while Bianchi (1909a) says it was found between 
June 25 and July 8 on Nerpech Lake (presumably in the northern part) where it probably breeds. 

Winter Range 

In winter the European Widgeon is found sparingly on the Shetlands (Saxby, 1874; Evans and Buck- 
Shetlands ley, 1899) but not on the Faroes, although Hantzsch (1905) thinks it more than likely 

Faroes that some spend the winter in Iceland. In the British Isles it is abundant in the cold 

Iceland season, especially on the coasts of Scotland (G. R. Gray, 1871; Baxter and Rintoul, 

Scotland 1920a) and on the east and southeast coasts of England (Dresser, 1871-81; Seebohm, 

England 1885; Millais, 1902; Stonham, 1908; etc.). In Ireland it is abundant (W. Thompson, 

Ireland 1851; Payne-Gallwey, 1882; Ussher and Warren, 1900). Concerning the Continent 

Norway Collett (1871) says it is very common on the coasts of Norway, evidently meaning only 



the southwestern and southern parts as stated by Schaanning (1913). Dresser (1871-81) states 
that considerable numbers spend the winter in southern Sweden, but there seems Sweden 
to be some question about this. In Denmark it is abundant in winter (Kjarbol- Denmark 
ling, 1850), while in Germany it rarely winters except in certain localities; com- Germany 
monly in Schleswig-Holstein (Rohweder, fide Naumann, 1896-1905), in Brunswick 
(R. Blasius, 1896), not rarely at Neuwied (Brahts, 1855), sparingly in the Rhine Provinces (LeRoi, 
1906-07). Naumann (1896-1905) states that it most probably winters occasionally in Bavaria, 
Wtirtemberg and Baden, while Floricke (1898) claims to have seen specimens in eastern Prussia in 
winter. The species is common in Holland as well as in Belgium (Schlegel, 1859; Holland 
Dubois, 1886; Raspail, 1913) and on the coasts of France (Seebohm, 1885). Rogeron Bgigjujn 
(1903) states that it winters sparingly in Anjou; the British Museum has a specimen 
taken at Arcachon in November; H. Saunders (1884) met with it on the Lac de 
Lourdes in the Pyrenees; Backhouse (1887) states that it is common at Perpignan; Clarke (1898) 
records it for the Rhone Delta and Provence, and Lilford (1875) procured it at Cannes in midwinter. 
According to Reyes y Prosper (1886) and Arevalo y Baca (1887) it winters in Spain 
very commonly in Andalucia and on the coast of Catalonia whence it extends to the 
central districts. In Granada, Murcia and Galicia the latter says it is less common 
common bird in Portugal (Tait, 1896; A. C. Smith, 1868; Seabra, 1910). From the 
Balearics it has been reported for Mallorca and Minorca (Barcelon, fide Reyes y 
Prosper, 1886). According to J. Whitehead (1885) it is common in Corsica, and 
according to Salvadori (1865) and Brooke (1873) abundant in Sardinia. In Sicily 
it is very common (Malherbe, 1843) and C. A. Wright (1864) states that it is found in winter on 
Malta, but according to Despott (1917) it is a scarce bird there. In the Italian penin- 
sula it winters, as Giglioli’s (1889-91) investigations show, from Sicily through Cala- 
bria, Apulia, Campania, the Marches, Tuscany, Liguria, Venice, Lombardy and Piedmont. Fatio 
(1904) says the species winters sparingly in Switzerland. Althammer (1857) has 
recorded it as fairly common in the Tyrol, while on the Adriatic coast in Dalmatia it 
is abundant (Kolombatovic, 1903). Crown Prince Rudolph and Brehm (1879) state that it winters 
about Vienna, and it apparently does so in limited numbers in Hungary (Madarasz, 1884) as well as 
in Transylvania (Danford and Harvie-Brown, 1875). In the Balkans it winters south 
through Montenegro (Reiser and von Fiihrer, 1896) and Greece, where it is abundant 
(von der Miihle, 1844; Kriiper, 1862; Lindermayer, 1860), specifically on the Cyclades (Erhard, 
1858), and on the Ionian Islands and in western Greece (Pow’ys, 1860). Northward it is very com- 
mon in Macedonia (Elwes and Buckley, 1870), in Bulgaria, and even in Bessarabia (Radakofli, 1879). 
Dresser (1871-81) states that it winters on the Russian coasts of the Black Sea, but 
Brauner (1894) says nothing of its wintering in Cherson or the Crimea, and its doing 
so regularly seems open to doubt, although Radde (1854) states that it winters in the Crimea. 

In western Africa the species is abundant in winter. Ogilvie-Grant (1905) found a specimen from 
San Miguel, Azores, in the Ponta Delgada Museum and was told that it was not uncommon 
on these islands. Harcourt (1851) and Hartwig (Ornith. Monatsb., 1894, p. 57) Western 
found it in the Madeiras, Meade- Waldo (1893) saw it in the Canaries, and Cabrera Africa 
y Diaz (1893-94) has two specimens from the same archipelago. Beyond this there are Azores 
probably very few records (Bannerman, 1919). It has not yet been reported from the Cananes 
Cape Verde group, but it must occur there, if we are to believe de Rocbebrune’s (1883-85) statement 
that it is pretty common on the mainland as far south as Senegambia, where it has been taken at 
Thionk, Leybar, Taalari and Sedhiou. The same author says it occurs in that country on passage at 
the end of winter, which indicates that the species winters even farther south on the west coast of the 
continent. Information concerning this part of the world is so meager that it is impossible to decide 
the question, but de Rochebrune’s statements must always be treated cautiously. Farther north it is 


It is also a 








abundant in Morocco (Reid, 1885; Drake, 1867; J. I. S. Whitaker, 1905) and in Algeria (Rothschild 
and Hartert, 1912; Taczanowski, 1870; Loche, 1867; Buvry, 1857) and extends south even to the 
northern Sahara, where Tristram (1860) found it fairly common. According to Kdnig (1888), J. 1. S. 
VNTiitaker (1905) and Zedlitz (1909) it is common also in Tunis. In fact, it is said to be the common- 
est duck there, occurring in great flocks as far south as the Sahara (Millet-Horsin, 1912). In north- 
Northeast- eastern Africa it is common in the Nile delta , but becomes rare above Cairo (Shel- 
em Africa ley, 1872; Raw, 1921). Adams (1864) has recorded it for Cairo, and Nicoll (1912) found 
it on the Natron Lakes. Von Heuglin (1873) states that he found it in Nubia and on the Red Sea at 
Suakin, while A. L. Butler (1905) reports having met with it several times at Khartum, Riippell 
(1845) long since recorded it for Abyssinia, and quite recently it was found to be common in south- 
eastern Abyssinia on Lakes Harrar-Meyer and Gedda (Ogilvie-Grant, 1900). The British Museum 
possesses a specimen from Aden ! 

Turning to Asia I find the species recorded as everywhere common in Palestine (Tristram, 1884), 
exceedingly plentiful in Cyprus (Bucknill, 1911), and in Asia Minor from Smyrna 
(Strickland, 1836) and Ismid on the Sea of Marmora (G. C. Taylor, 1872) where it was 
abundant in late May! From the interior of Asia Minor I find a record of Weigold’s (1913) having 
met with a small flock at Bumbudj on the Euphrates in northern Mesopotamia. The British Museum 
possesses specimens from Babylon and Bagdad, as well as one recorded by R. B. Sharpe (1891a) from 
Fao, at the head of the Persian Gulf. Members of the British Expeditionary Force also met with a 
few in Mesopotamia (Meinertzhagen, 1914; London Field, Dec. 14, 1918). In the Caucasus the 
species winters pretty commonly at Lenkoran on the Caspian, commonly in the Parapamis, Seistan, 
Kuhistan and Kirman districts, in the Zagross and Mesopotamian regions and on the littoral of the 
Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea (Zarudny, 1911). C. Swinhoe (1882) states that it is rather rare in 
winter in southern Afghanistan, but in the north it has been recorded from Quetta (Meinertzhagen, 
1920) and Badghis by R. B. Sharpe (1889), and according to Severtzoff (Dresser, 1876) it winters 
even in southwestern Turkestan, that is, in the Buchara and Samarkand regions. Carruthers (1910) 
also states that it winters in the Zarafschan Basin. Eastward its status is not clear, but it very 
likely winters to some extent in the Himalayas of western Pamir and western Kashmir, being found 
in the mountains from the latter Province east to Bhutan (Hume and Marshall, 1879). South of 
the Himalayas in India it is variously reported as common and rare, and Baker (1908) suggests it 
is probably more common in the dry seasons. I may add that from the information available it 
seems to be commoner in the western districts and rarer in the east, being, according to Hume and 
Marshall (1879), of occasional occurrence in the Punjab and Sind, and common in Kathiawar, but 
less so in Cutch. In Guzerat, Khandesh, Berar and the western part of the Central Provinces in 
the Konkan and western part of Hyderabad it is not uncommon, as also in the Deccan and in parts 
of Mysore, but it evidently does not occur south of this. Hartlaub (1854) recorded it from Ceylon, 
but Legge (1880) makes no mention of either the record or the actual occurrence of the bird, and 
its presence in the island seems questionable. Hume and Marshall (1879) also state that they have 
been unable to establish its occurrence in the eastern parts of the Central Provinces or in Chota- 
India Nagpur, but do not doubt its occasional occurrence there. In northern India it ap- 

pears, “capriciously distributed” from the Punjab through Rajputana, the North- 
west Provinces, Behar and parts of Bengal (Hume and Marshall, 1879). It extends farther east 
than Hume and Marshall (1879) supposed likely, and is common in Cachar and Sylhet, not rare in 
Goalpara and Kamrup, and occurs throughout Assam as well as in northern Tenasserim (Baker, 
1908). Hopwood (1912) recently found a flock of forty at Kyaukpyu, Arakan; while Rippon (1901) 
states that it is not at all uncommon in the South Shan States, and H. R. Davies (1909) once saw a flock 
of one hundred on the Chuching River in Yunnan. Eastward it is common in southern 
China (R. Swinhoe, 1860; David and Oustalet, 1877) but very likely does not winter 
much north of Yangtse-kiang basin. It has been recorded from northern Hainan (Hartert, 1910), 





Formosa (Uchida, 1912; R. Swinhoe, 1863), and Hong-kong (Vaughan and Jones, 1913), and is 
common on the whole Quangtung coast (Kershaw, 1904), and at Swatow and Foochow (La Touche, 
1892). Styan (1891) states that it is very abundant on the lower Yangtse River from Hankow to the 
delta, and it is pretty common at Ningpo. From the interior it has been reported from Kiu-kiang 
(Seebohm, 1884) and from western Szechwan (Thayer and Bangs, 1912). On the Loo-choo Islands 
it was found on Tanegashima in November and December (Ogawa, 1905) while in southern Japan it 
is abundant, even north to Tokio (Blakiston and Fryer, 1882). The Italian e.xpedition even took a 
specimen at Yamada, on the northeast coast, in November (Giglioli and Salvadori, 1887), but it 
probably does not winter in the northernmost parts of Nippon. In the Philippine 
archipelago it has been met with in Calayan (R. C. McGregor, 1909), in Luzon (Worces- 
ter, fide R. C. McGregor, 1909), on Mindanao (Celestino, R. C. McGregor, 1909) and on Basilan 
(R. C. McGregor, 1909). There are two records of its occurrence in northwestern Borneo, namely 
at Bintulu (Everett, R. B. Sharpe, 1877) and on the Tampussuk plain where a small flock was 
seen (R. B. Sharpe, 1890). I And that the British Museum has a specimen taken in October on 
Chichishima, an island in the Bonin group, southeast of Japan, latitude circa 27° north, longitude 
142° east. A remarkable record is that given by Finsch (1880) concerning the capture of an exhausted 
specimen on Taluit Island in the Marshall group. But this record is not quite so striking after the 
report of the tremendous flights of American ducks over these islands (Reichenow, 1899a), and if the 
Widgeon should be found to do the same and it should turn out that the birds fly to the Aleutians, it 
may appear that the species breeds in the Aleutians after all, and that the migrants on the Com- 
mander Islands in spring are not from Japan and China, but from the South Sea Islands ! 

Passage Area 

The large area lying between the breeding and wintering ranges, as well as the southern and north- 
ern parts respectively of the breeding and wintering ranges are regions in which the species is known 
either wholly or primarily as a bird of passage. This area includes the Faroes, where the birds occur 
only on passage to and from Iceland and the British Isles. On the Continent it comprises southern 
Scandinavia (Wallengren, 1854) and Denmark (Kjarbolling, 1850), Holland, Belgium (Dubois, 
1912), France (Ternier and Masse, 1907; Paris, 1907), northern Spain, Sardinia (Giglioli, 1889-91) 
and all but the southernmost parts of Italy (Giglioli, 1886; Arrigoni degli Oddi, 1904), Switzerland 
(Fatio, 1904), Lorraine (d’Hamonville, 1895), Luxembourg (La Fontaine, 1865-72), Germany, 
specifically Schleswig-Holstein (Dahl, 1905), Oldenburg (von Negelein, 1853), the Rhine Palatinate 
(W. and T. Heussler, 1896), the Rhine Provinces (Le Roi, 1906-07), Brunswick (R. Blasius, 1896), 
Brandenburg (Schalow, 1915), Saxony (Helm, 1905) and eastern Prussia (Hartert, 1892), Poland 
(Taczanowski, 1888), Bohemia (Fritsch, 1872), Hungary (Madarasz, 1884), Transylvania (Danford 
and Harvie-Brown, 1875), Bulgaria (Reiser, 1894; Radakoff, 1879), the Dobrudja (Sintenis, 1877) 
and Rumania, as well as the greater part of Russia, specifically Cherson and the Crimea (Brauner, 
1894), Kief (Goebel, 1871) and Orel (Daniloff, 1864), Tula and Moscow (Menzbier, 1883), the 
Baltic Provinces (Loudon, 1909), Novgorod (Bianchi, 1910), Petrograd (Buchner, 1885; Bianchi, 
1907) and also extreme southern Finland (Palmen, 1876). Eastward it occurs chiefly on passage 
in Kazan (Russki, 1893) and in Astracan (Seebohm, 1883) while in Asia this passage area includes 
the Caucasus (Radde, 1884; Zarudny, 1911), in Persia the Chorassan, Parapamis, Kuhistan and 
Kirman regions (Zarudny, 1911), Transcaspia (Zarudny, 1889-90), all of Turkestan excepting the 
southwest (Severtzow, 1883), Ferghana (Stolzmann, 1897), Chamba and Kashmir (Scully, 1876; 
Biddulph, 1881), northern Tibet and Lob-nor (Koslow, 1899; Deditius, 1886), Kuku-nor (Deditius, 
1886), Transbaikal (Dybowski and Parrex, 1868), northern China (David and Oustalet, 1877; K. H. 
Jones, 1911), Korea (Kalinowski,^de Taczanowski, 1893), Lake Hanka (Prjevalski, 1878), Saghalin 
Island (Nikolski, Taczanowski, 1893), Yezo (Whitely, 1867; Blakiston and Pryer, 1882), the 
Kuriles (Stejneger, 1898), presumably Kamchatka (Bianchi, 1909) and the Commander Islands 
(Stejneger, 1885; Bianchi, 1909). 




The status of the European Widgeon in the New World is still undetermined. In addition to a few 
indefinite early records for Greenland, chiefly for the southern parts, I find two records for Angmag- 
salik on the east coast given by Helms (1910), who says there are four records in all for 
the east coast. On the west coast the species was found at Arsuk, December 17, 1900 
(Helms, 1904), and the Peary Expedition took a specimen as far north as Holsteinborg, October, 
1894 (F. M. Chapman, 1899). In the Schioler collection there are at least seven specimens from 
various parts of Greenland (Schioler, 1912). On the American continent the northernmost eastern 
record is that recently given by C. W. Townsend (1917), who found a specimen in Mr. Beetz’s collec- 
tion taken at Piashte Bay, southern Labrador, the only record for this Province. Cooke (1906) says 
it has occurred in Newfoundland. It has been taken in at least twenty-two different States. For the 
Atlantic coast States there are numerous records. Downs (1888) says it is rare in Nova Scotia and 
there appears to be only one good record (Piers, 1915). In the New England States it has been found 
in Maine (Norton, 1913), New Hampshire (Hardy, 1909), doubtfully in Vermont (G. M. Allen, 
1909), many times in Massachusetts (Forbush, 1912; Phillips, 1920; etc.), in Rhode Island (Brewster, 
Auk, 1909, p. 186; G. M. Allen, 1909). I find only one or two records for Connecticut, but several 
for Long Island (Eaton, 1910), New Jersey (Stone, 1909), Maryland (Kirkwood, 1895), Virginia 
North (Rives, 1890), North Carolina (Pearson, Brimley and Brimley, 1919) and Florida 

America (Fay, 1910). Undoubtedly the species is far more common in North .\merica than 

has hitherto been supposed, as the recent multiplication of records and my own experience in 
Massachusetts has shown. Some of the earlier writers (Turnbull, 1869, for example) speak of it 
as regular in its appearance. There are now numerous records for the interior. It has been 
reported for New York State (Eaton, 1910), Pennsylvania (Cooke, 1906), Ohio (L. Jones, 
1903), Indiana (Deane, 1905; A. W. Butler, 1898), Michigan (H. Herrick, 1902; Barrows, 1912), 
Illinois (Ridgway, 1895; Cory, 1909), Wisconsin (Kumlien and Hollister, 1903; W. Taylor, 1919), 
Missouri (Widmann, 1907) and Nebraska (Bruner, Walcott and Swenk, 1905). There are also 
two records for Wyoming (Grave and Walker, 1913) making, except for Idaho, an unbroken 
chain of States from the Atlantic to the Pacific, in which the species has been taken. On the 
Pacific coast the European Widgeon has been found a number of times. There are about ten good 
records for California (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918) while in Oregon it has actually been spoken 
of as a common migrant (Pope, 1895-96) ! On the other hand there are very few (apparently only 
two) records for Washington (Bowles, 1915; Warburton, 1917), and so far as I know only three for 
British Columbia (Kermode, 1904). Mr. Vernon Bailey (MS.), however, states that Gray took one 
on Stikine Flats and he believes he has seen others. In the interior of British America specimens were 
taken by Frank Russell (1898) at Grand Rapids, Lake Winnipeg, and on August 22 at Fort Rae, 
Great Slave Lake! Neither of Russell’s records is included in J. and J. M. Macoun’s (1909) cata- 
logue, and they are certainly extraordinary. Nevertheless it is worth recalling that Richardson (fide 
Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) long since expressed the belief that the species breeds in the 
wooded regions of the fur countries and north to 68° north latitude. This statement, taken in con- 
junction with the fact that the great majority of the records for both coasts are winter occurrences, 
while the majority of the inland records are spring occurrences, would almost suggest the existence 
of an American stock, resident in this continent and migratory along the same routes as its native 
relatives. The statement has often been made that the species breeds on the Aleutian Islands, but I 
must confess that after a careful search I have been unable to find any evidence to support it. Elliott 
(1882) says distinctly that it does not breed on the Pribilovs, and Dali (1874) says it winters on 
Unalaska, migrating May 1. Nelson (1887) belieres it nests on the Aleutians. The statement that it 
actually nests was, so far as I know, first made by Freke (1882) who says he is indebted to Mr. Ridg- 
way for this information. The statement is then repeated in Baird, Brewer and Ridgway (1884) 
without comment. It is again made in the American Ornithologists’ Union Checklist for 1895, 
but is very significantly omitted from the edition of 1910. To my knowledge there is absolutely 



no evidence that the species has ever bred in North America, though I am inclined to think that 
it may do so. 


The migration of the Widgeon offers no peculiarities. Representative dates show that it arrives 
in the south of Europe in late February or early March; in western France, middle February; north- 
ern Italy, early March; Switzerland, late February; Tyrol, late February; Rumania, late February. 
Farther north it arrives in March in Lorraine and in Germany. In Hungary, March 10 (average of 
fifteen years, 1895-1911); Kief, Russia, early April. Still farther north dates of arrival are: Iceland, 
May 4; eastern Finland, May 15; Lapland, May 31 ; Petrograd, April; Petchora, May 19. In autumn, 
a few, probably young birds, arrive in Italy as early as late August, but most pass through Europe in 
the central sections during late October or early November. There are various reports of small 
flocks on the Scottish coasts in August. They leave Iceland mostly in late September or early October, 
while at Petrograd a few appear in late August. In southern Europe some arrive as late as the last of 
November. In Asia practically the same conditions are found, though in spring on the arctic coast 
some of the birds do not arrive until early June, and it may be said that in general the spring migra- 
tion is a week or two later in Asia than it is in Europe. Information concerning the autumn migra- 
tion in Asia is very meager. 

A little work has been done in Germany with marked Widgeon. One specimen banded in Holland 
in summer was taken in winter 625 kilometers southwest on the French coast. Another similarly 
marked, was taken on the Dutch coast 250 kilometers from the marking point. A more interesting 
record is that of a specimen marked in Holland in July, 1910, that was taken in the autumn of 1911 in 
northern Finland perhaps indicating that the birds of passage on the coasts of western Europe breed 
farther east in the lands of the northern Baltic. A young specimen marked by Thomson (1911) in 
Sutherland, Scotland, in June, 1909, was taken in northeastern Holland in September of that year, a 
significant record; another young bird marked in the same way was taken on the River Trent, Eng- 
land, in January, 1911. One ringed in Warwick, England, October, 1915, was recovered in April, 
1918, at Uralsk, north of the Caspian Sea by an officer in the Ural Cossack army. This points to 
a remarkable east-and-west dispersal of about 2000 miles. Two young, hand-reared birds, marked 
in Cumberland, England, were recovered near the same place in the autumn of the following 

Everything indicates a definite sex migration in the Widgeon, females and young of the year work- 
ing south first and wintering in the southern parts of the winter range. Old males migrate much 
later and winter farther north. 


Haunts. Widgeon may be regarded as somewhat apart from other surface-feeders, 
being more gooselike perhaps, but at the same time having something in common 
with the Pintail and Teal. The European Widgeon, although so similar in appear- 
ance to the American bird, is dififerent in its habits, for the nature of the coasts 
where it winters and its dependence upon eel-grass for its main food have made it 
almost maritime. No doubt it was once much more of a fresh-water bird in western 
Europe than it is now. All Widgeon like broad waters, and are not particularly 
partial to marshes and pond-holes. They are very particular about feeding condi- 
tions, and hence are local in their distribution, occurring in great masses where the 
height of the water and the depth of the food are suited to their needs. On their 



breeding grounds they seem fond of wooded, or partially wooded country, and 
choose nesting sites that are high and often a good distance from water. 

The three species of Widgeon are very similar in form and their style of flight is 
characteristic; their young are easily distinguished from those of other surface-feeders 
and their incubation period is short. 

Wariness. Widgeon are extremely wary, fully as much so as Pintail and rather 
more so than Mallard, and when gathered together in great packs on the open 
estuaries of western Europe, the nature of their surroundings makes it almost im- 
possible to approach them by day. There, too, they have been so persecuted by 
puntsmen with swivel-guns that their education was long ago complete. Millais’ 
(1902) description of their manner of approaching a feeding ground is interesting. 
The first little pack will come flying in from the open sea against the wind, when the 
tide is at about half-ebb, and alight about 200 or 300 yards from the shore. Here 
they remain quietly packed together for some time till the first green fronds of the 
eel-grass (Zostera) appear on the surface near the shore. Then they slowly work 
shoreward, and after many false alarms begin to feed. Other small packs fly in 
from the sea and alight directly among the feeding birds, till finally the great packs 
are formed. 

They are usually hard to take in the decoy-pipes of Great Britain and Holland, 
and only in certain places were great numbers ever caught. Ussher and Warren 
(1900) mention a decoy in Ireland where none was taken in six years (1882-1888) 
although three hundred were on the decoy lake most of the time. 

English puntsmen find that Widgeon readily take advantage of the alarm-call of 
other birds, — curlews, red-shanks, oyster-catchers, sheldrakes, etc. — that are even 
warier than Widgeon. Such birds are apt to catch sight of a punt before the Wid- 
geon and warn them by getting on the wing first (Millais, 1901). 

It must not be supposed that Widgeon are so wary in places where they are less dis- 
turbed. W. Thompson (1851), speaking of the Belfast region, says that on small lakes 
the Teal were the first to rise, next the Mallard, and then the Widgeon, followed 
by the diving ducks. In India, Baker (1908) considers them “cute, wary’’ birds, 
but not as wild as some others of their kind. Even in England the first arrivals from 
the North, which, of course, are mostly young birds, are decidedly unsuspicious and 
unsophisticated. After they have been driven away there is nowadays little chance 
of a good shot until midwinter, when frosts and gales tend to make Widgeon, like 
other ducks, tamer and less alert. The best time to approach them in a punt is said 
to be the small hours of the morning, when the tide happens to be from half to three- 
quarters flood, and when, having fed, they are found congregated about the edge of 
the disappearing mud-flats. 

Waterton’s (1838) observations about one hundred years ago taught him that the 



Widgeon when not molested is less fearful than either the Pochard or the Teal. He 
was surprised to find how their habits changed as soon as they were protected from 

Daily Movements. Widgeon are naturally night-feeders. In their winter 
haunts the first arrivals are, like other species, day-feeders. Later on they become 
almost marine in their habits, but feed at low tide both in the day and in the night, 
unless greatly disturbed during the day. In many places they are forced to keep to 
the open sea during the whole day, and flight either in-shore, or to inland fresh 
waters, flooded meadows or even grassy fields at night. The truth probably is that 
if left strictly alone they would be governed chiefly by the rise and fall of the tide, 
and would spend at least part of their time on fresh water; nevertheless, even when 
little disturbed, they, like other ducks, become more nocturnal as winter approaches. 
Under present conditions they flight more or less after sundown, and very rarely on 
dark nights. But if the moon should rise during the night there seems to be a second 
period of activity (Thompson, 1851; Millais, 1902). It goes without saying that on 
the breeding grounds they are crepuscular, showing little activity during the middle 
of the day. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. The Wfidgeon is one of the most graceful and attrac- 
tive ducks, on the water, on land, and in the air. It walks and runs easily and rapidly 
and its carriage is perhaps a little more upright than that of the Mallard, the head 
being closely drawn in. It floats lightly upon the water, but is easily distinguished 
by the retracted neck and small, finely shaped head and bill, which give it an aristo- 
cratic appearance. The upward tilt of the closed wing is a good field-mark in picking 
the species out at long distances on the water. 

It is a skilful diver, but never dives unless wounded, when it is able to cover con- 
siderable distances under the water. At least one good authority (R. Gray, 1871) 
has actually found Widgeon holding themselves under the surface by their bills in 
shallow water, so that they had to be dislodged with a boat-hook. Such habits, 
though once commonly spoken of, are now generally regarded as imaginary or 
accidental and I cannot bring myself to believe that a wounded duck will ever 
“commit suicide.” 

Flight. The Widgeon rises as easily as any other duck, and more perpendicu- 
larly than most others. It is more light and agile in the air than the Mallard; the 
wings are more depressed below the body and do not cause a whistling sound. 

There is no more beautiful and animated picture than a great flock of Widgeon in 
full career darting this way and that, wheeling round and round in great circles, only 
to set their wings suddenly and pitch headlong with meteoric speed until within a 



few yards of the water, w'hen they spread out and take the surface as lightly as Teal. 
On the wing they perform extraordinary evolutions and their long sharp wings, 
together with the short secondaries evidently give them great speed. When in full 
flight overhead a peculiar fluttering noise is continually heard, due to the fact, as 
Heinroth (1911) explains, that one or another of the birds suddenly puts on the 
brakes, so to speak, by erecting itself and turning the lower surface of the wings 
forw'ard, and beating against the air with them. One gets the impression that their 
own speed sometimes becomes too rapid for them. Aside from these fluttering 
noises and their whistling calls there is no sound from a flock except the rustling of a 
great mass of birds if they go by close to one. It is characteristic of Widgeon to fly 
in dense packs without any special formation when on local journeys. Even on very 
short flights the flocks may consist of several hundred birds, though forty or fifty 
or a hundred is more common. 

In fine weather Widgeon rise to a great height in the air, particularly when passing 
over dangerous points of land. Migration is performed chiefly at night, or very 
early in the morning, the flocks at such times thinning out into long wavy, irregular 
lines, sometimes broken here and there, and sometimes denser toward the center. 
These lines continually shift and change, and the more regular, gooselike type of 
flock is certainly exceptional. 

On favorite feeding grounds these birds will gather in enormous packs, sometimes 
numbering several thousands. But such congregations split into smaller groups 
when flushed or when changing ground. Millais thinks these huge companies occur 
more commonly after the birds have been driven about a good deal, and may be 
formed as a sort of mutual protection. 

Association with other Species. Although one of the most gregarious of all 
ducks, the Widgeon does not seem to relish particularly the company of other 
species. Of course single individuals or pairs are more likely to appear in flocks of 
other ducks, but it is quite remarkable that the scattering Widgeon which turn up 
mostly as single birds in northeastern Massachusetts, both Anas penelope and Afias 
americana, are almost always alone. 

Their aloofness is seen again on the nesting grounds, where their eggs are seldom 
found in nests of other species. Pintail eggs have been found in nests of the Widgeon 
in Iceland, with both females incubating at the same time (Slater, 1901), and they are 
said to nest occasionally there in protected Eider Duck colonies (Hantzsch, 1905). 
A very remarkable nest with eggs of Widgeon, Scaup, Long-tailed Ducks and Red- 
breasted Mergansers, was long ago recorded for Iceland by Kriiper (Naumann, 

They have been found seizing pond-weeds brought up by feeding Coots in the 
interior waters of Ireland (Ussher and Warren, 1900), and as they frequent the same 



feeding grounds with Brent Geese they occasionally take advantage of the food 
pulled up by these (Millais, 1902), just as the American Widgeon is somewhat 
parasitic, or at least symbiotic toward certain diving ducks. 

Voice. The voice of the Widgeon is very characteristic and more like that of the 
Teal and Pintail than that of the Mallard. They rise silently, but in the air the 
males are continually uttering a double whistling note, which at a distance is really 
melodious, while the females less commonly join in with their low purring sound. 
More specifically the note of the male may be described as a bisyllabic call, whee-yu, 
the first syllable of which is sharper and more whistling. Close at hand the sound is 
monotonous, rather harsh and grating, and entirely immusical, but coming down 
out of the air from a hundred throats it is one of the sounds most dear to the ears of 
a sportsman. 

The female’s call may be spoken of as a greatly modified quack, a low croaking 
note almost impossible to describe, but frequently written krrr or chrrr or even pur- 
pur-pur. The note of attraction, Heinroth (1911) thought, was shorter than the more 
protracted and repeated scolding call, and the alarm-call is different still. He also 
describes the pair calling simultaneously so as to produce a unified note. This 
habit has led many writers to attribute both calls to the male sex. 

One is tempted to quote here a few words from Colonel Hawker’s famous book of 
advice to sportsmen : “ The thicker the weather, the more silent the Wigeon when 
pitched. A shrill, clear pipe denotes a single cock-Wigeon, as does a long loud ‘purre’ 
a hen; but when the call of the cock is one short, soft note and not so often repeated, 
you may expect to find a company. If so you will probably soon hear the birds ‘all 
in a charm’ [that is in full concert] if you have the patience to wait and listen.” 

The lower part of the trachea of the female is simple, but in the male there is a 
transverse oblong, bony dilatation bulging out on the left into a spheroidal box 
about an inch in greatest diameter. 

Food. Wfidgeon are strictly surface-feeders and grazers, and prefer shallow 
water where they do not have to tip, or fairly deep water with pond-weeds floating 
on the surface. But they will also feed “end-up” like a Mallard and like geese are 
exceedingly fond of grazing on tender grass. Though predominantly vegetarian, 
some in Scotland and elsewhere have been known to live in winter almost entirely 
on small cockles (Millais, 1902). In all western Europe their chief reliance in winter 
is eel-grass (Zostera marina) though they doubtless supplement this, where possible, 
with fresh-water grasses. More unusual marine food is the sea-lettuce {Enteromorpha 
clathrata) which they were noticed eating in Belfast Bay (Thompson, 1851). 

In Germany the food in autumn, in the interior, is chiefly the seeds of the float- 
ing manna-grass {Glyceria fluitans), various potamogetons, duck-weed (Lemna), 



ranunculi and polygona (Naumann, 1896-1905). In the spring-time they may be 
seen grazing in the fields on the sprouts of grass and grain, and they also occasionally 
vdsit the stubble fields. 

The animal food consists of shell-fish, shrimps, insects and their larvte, snails; 
occasionally also the spawn of fish and frogs. Naumann (1896-1905) says they may 
be seen in the morning going to the fields to pick up earthworms and snails. The 
summer food doubtless consists of much more animal matter. Millais (1902) saw 
them, as they swam along the shores of one of the Iceland lakes, catching the flies 
off stones. 

The contents of the stomachs of five European Widgeon taken in Massachusetts, 
Maryland and North Carolina consisted of widgeon-grass, eel-grass, pond-weed, 
seeds of the bulrush, and a few other items, thus not differing materially from the 
food of its American cousin (Mabbott, 1920). 

Courtship and Nesting. The Widgeon pairs in March or even earlier, not 
differing in this respect from most shoal-water ducks. The display is simple, 
so much so, in fact, that Heinroth (1911) considered it almost lacking. But a 
sort of social play was noted as long ago as 1858 (Jackel, 1859) and was first ade- 
quately described by Millais (1902). I have never seen it carried out fully by my 
own captive birds. The courting males swim about the female who is ready to re- 
ceive their attentions. They raise their white pileum feathers, stretch out their 
necks over the water, and erect the long ornamental scapular feathers. The bend 
of the wing is also depressed so that the primaries are raised at a sharp angle. All 
the while the males emit their loud double whistles, for they are the noisiest of all 
ducks in courtship. Fights among males are rare, but birds in confinement are apt 
to become jealous when new individuals arrive. Millais (1902) describes a battle 
royal during which the combatants seized each other by the back of the neck 
and attempted to down each other. Most, but possibly not all females are fertile 
when one year old; at least this is the experience of those who have reared them in 

The name penelope was given to the Widgeon because of its supposed conjugal 
fidelity; and so far as known the bird has shown itself worthy of its classical designa- 
tion. No one apparently has described the nuptial flight of the European Widgeon, 
which must take place when the birds are on the breeding grounds, for it is well 
developed and frequently seen in the American species. It would be interesting to 
know whether the “braking” in mid-air, which causes the fluttering sound described 
under Flight, is part of the display, and whether it is characteristic of the male sex 
only. It is always seen and heard in large flocks, and may be simply a form of play- 

The nesting dates vary from middle May to late June, depending, of course, on the 



character of the season and on the latitude. It cannot be classed as a particularly 
early breeder for it lays later than the Mallard, Pintail or Teal. In Iceland it begins 
to breed in early June; in northern Europe the dates are mostly for late May and 
June, in northern Finland frequently in the latter half of June. On the Petchora 
River eggs were taken as early as June 5 and on the Jenesei twelve days later 
(Naumann, 1896-1905; Montell, 1917; Seebohm, 1885; Hantzsch, 1905; etc.). 

The nest is always located in a fresh-water region but may be some distance from 
the water. Rough or wooded situations are often chosen, and the nest itself is not 
different from that of other shoal-water ducks. Any materials close at hand may be 
used in its construction. 

The ordinary clutch numbers from seven to ten, with a maximum of twelve and 
an average of about nine. Nests with less than seven eggs are not uncommonly 
found, and are probably the work of younger birds. The eggs measure from 50- 
59.9 by 33.2-40.7 mm., averaging about 55 by 38 mm. In color they are huffish 
white or cream, without ever having the slightest trace of green. They are very like 
the eggs of the White-eyed Pochard and Gadwall, but may be distinguished from 
these by their more creamy color (Seebohm, 1896). The nest down is dark but not 
characteristic; the feathers that are found among it, however, are unmistakable, 
being white, sometimes with gray centers that spread to the tip (H. Noble, 1908). 
The nest feathers of other species are sometimes used by ducks, so that care must be 
taken in making a diagnosis. 

The incubation period is probably twenty-four days (Job, 1915) though it has 
been placed as low as twenty -two or twenty -three days by Heinroth (1908) and as 
high as twenty-five days by various other writers. It is certainly three days less 
than that of the Mallard, which perhaps indicates an affinity with the Teal. During 
incubation the male behaves in the same way as does the Mallard, visiting the 
female less and less until toward the middle of the period he disappears completely. 
Hantzsch (1905) claims to have seen the male occasionally visit the female after the 
young have been hatched. Nothing is recorded about the very interesting question 
whether the female returns to her own brood after she has completed her moult. 
Immediately after deserting the females, the males fiock together and evidently 
make excursions of some length, for in the month of July flocks composed entirely of 
males are mentioned by writers. 

Status. The Widgeon has always been one of the commonest and most eagerly 
sought of European ducks, and its original status is difficult to determine because 
enormous numbers were taken in decoys even before the end of the 17th century. 
We do not know whether the great drives of moulting ducks in the Lincolnshire fens 
produced many Widgeons or not. In the old decoys of Essex enormous takes were 
made in former days and some interesting figures of the Canney Marsh Decoy are 



given by Cordeaux (1896). It was started in 1714, and from that year to 1726 no 
less than 44,677 Widgeon were taken out of a total of 50,587 ducks. The great takes 
were made in September, October and November, that is, during the autumn 
migration. In Somerset and Devon more were caught in the old decoys than all 
other species combined (MacGillivray, 1852). But in other locations, as in the 
famous Ashby Decoy (Lincolnshire), the proportion was much smaller, only 2019 
Widgeon being taken in a total of 96,000 ducks decoyed from 1833 to 1868. Though 
the Widgeon has decreased in recent years the numbers are still relatively large as 
compared with other species. In the Orielton Decoy (Pembroke) there were 4150 
Widgeon in the total of 8433 ducks taken between 1877 and 1885, but in the Iken 
Decoy (Suffolk) only 1267 Widgeon out of a total of 12,683 ducks were taken in the 
same years. Actual numbers taken probably do not represent the species numeri- 
cally, because Widgeon are very crafty and do not decoy as easily as Mallard or 
Teal. The Widgeon is the chief game of punt-shooters, and as many as 1200 were 
taken by Payne-Gallwey in 1880-81 out of a total of 1500 wild-fowl. Although 
the species must have been greatly reduced in the past hundred years it is still 
found in companies aggregating thousands on the Scotch estuaries, especially on the 
northeast coast, where they must be fully capable of taking care of themselves, or 
they would long since have been wiped out. Abel Chapman (1889) thought that not 
over 10 or 15% of these bodies of Widgeon were destroyed in any one season, which 
in itself is not enough to endanger the species. But modern commerce and its 
effect on harbors must also be taken into account. 

Its history as a breeding species in Scotland is very interesting, because it has 
shown a marked increase since the late ’70’s, when it was only a rare breeding bird in 
the northern parts. About 1880, a great southern movement began and to-day the 
species breeds in various localities throughout the whole country, and has even 
spread south into the northern counties of England (Millais, 1902; Baxter and 
Rintoul, 1920). 

When Mr. L. Griscom visited the Carmague district, southern France, in De- 
cember, 1918, he estimated that there were at least 100,000 Widgeon wintering 

An old writer, Faber, did not consider the species so common a nesting bird as the 
Pintail in Iceland, but Millais (1902) found it much more abundant, outnumbering 
it ten to one in certain localities. 

There has been much speculation as to whether this bird has increased on the 
Atlantic coast of North America. The first one was reported by Giraud, who ob- 
tained it in the Fulton Market, New York, in December, 1842 (Giraud, 1844), 
the second by Dr. Samuel Cabot in 1848 (Proc. Boston Soc. Nat. Hist., vol. 3, p. 21, 
1848). At Currituck (North Carolina) it was apparently well known as long ago 
as 1880, but was considered a cross between the Baldpate and the Green-winged 



Teal (Deane, 1880). When I shot there between the years 1897 and 1912 it could 
scarcely be considered an uncommon bird, and I once had four males come to my 
decoys at one time. Of course practically none of the females was recognized except 
when specially looked for. I have some reason to think that the species may not be 
so common to-day in North Carolina as it was fifteen to twenty years ago. At 
Wenham, Massachusetts, I have taken sixty-two American and no less than thirteen 
European Widgeon in twenty-two years. These last were apparently all young, and 
no fully adult male was ever seen there. 

Enemies. The enemies of the Widgeon are those of all palaearctic shoal-water 
ducks and have been discussed under Mallard. Millais (1901) seems to think that 
the Great Black-backed Gull will sometimes kill adults on the wintering grounds, 
but most of the birds killed in this way are probably sick or crippled. C. Smith 
(1881) found that the Herring Gulls are very destructive to young Widgeon reared 
in semi-captive condition. 

Damage. Injury to crops must be very slight because this has never been par- 
ticularly referred to in the literature. 

Food Value. On the whole the flesh of the Widgeon is good, but consid- 
ered inferior to that of Mallard and Teal. When its food is principally eel-grass 
and some fresh water is also obtained, it is excellent. In some cases, however, the 
birds live on marine animal food, as at Dornoch, Scotland, and the flesh then ac- 
quires a poor, bitter taste, rendering it at times inedible (Millais, 1902). On the 
coast of Northumberland where there is no Zostera, they become exceedingly rank 
(W. Thompson, 1851), and the same applies to other parts of the English coast. 
In India they are considered inferior to many other species (Hume and Marshall, 
1879; Baker, 1908). On the Chinese coast also, there seems to be great variation 
in the flesh. According to La Touche (1892) the Foochow Widgeon are very good, 
while those from Swatow are very bad. I see no reason why Widgeon feeding on 
Zostera alone are not just as good as our most delicious North American Brant from 
the east coast. 

Hunt. The old methods of taking Widgeon and other fowl are so numerous as 
to make it impossible to mention more than a few of them. The ancient system of 
clap-nets is still used in Holland for taking these ducks. The fowling floors where 
these nets are used are constructed with great care and consistently baited. An 
engine known as the “spring” which was used in English fens, and a system of 
springs and nooses called the “wile” was used on the English side of the Solway 
Firth (MacPherson, 1897). Widgeon and other fowl were taken in the seventeenth 



century with lime placed on strings and twigs. Receipts for poisoned bait are given 
in some of the old books (Gentlemen’s Recreation, 1697). 

Widgeon, as well as Mallard and Teal, have always been the principal ducks taken 
in the decoys of England, Holland and Germany. They were shot on the flats, from 
barrels sunk into the mud on the feeding grounds, but the numbers bagged in this 
way w'ere comparatively small. Nets spread on the salt-marshes were also used 
(W. Thompson, 1851). When swivel or punt guns were introduced, carrying as 
much as a pound of shot, great numbers of Widgeon were killed for the first few 
years. Their habit of feeding in closely packed companies of great size rendered them 
especially liable to destruction by such means. In those days as many as seventy- 
six Widgeon were taken at one shot (W. Thompson, 1851), and there is one shot 
recorded in the Encyclopedia of Sport (1897-98) which accounted for ninety -three ! 
Since that time the gims have been increased in size, but, according to Millais and 
other modern writers, it seems that the great shots of other days are never to be had 
now. I am not certain when the punt gun was first invented, but it apparently did 
not reach Belfast Bay until about 1820. This method of shooting ducks is looked 
upon with horror in America but this view is, I think, entirely wrong. The weapon 
with which fowl are shot is merely incidental; it is the method that counts. Com- 
pared to the difficulties and even the dangers of punting fowl on the great ooze beds 
of the British coasts, the shooting of ducks, and often baited ducks, over decoys, is 
tame sport indeed. As well compare the stalking of wild sheep with the shooting of 
driven roe deer in a German forest. Many British sportsmen have written extensively 
on the science of punt shooting; among these are Hawker (1824), Folkard (1859), 
“Wildfowler” (1880), Payne-Gallwey (1882), A. Chapman (1889, 1896), Sharp 
(1895), Millais (1901), Duncan and Thorne (1911). 

The prices paid for mixed wild-fowl early in the eighteenth century ranged from 
10 to 12 shillings, sometimes as high as 16 shillings, the dozen (Payne-Gallwey, 
1886). Until about 1850, Widgeon brought from 1 shilling 6 pence to 2 shillings 6 
pence the pair, after which they seem to have declined in value on account of the 
general abundance of game in the markets (W. Thompson, 1851). 

Shooting at Widgeon during their evening flights to inland waters, or while they 
are traveling overland from one bay to another has always been a favorite method, 
but large bags are not obtained in this way unless the weather is extremely severe. 
The hut-shooting, so much in vogue in France and Belgium, is described in detail by 
Ternier and Masse (1907). 

In China great numbers of Widgeon must be taken, since they have been imported 
to European markets from the lower Yangtse (Ghidini, 1911). 

Behavior in Captivity. The Widgeon is one of the most attractive of all the 
smaller water-fowl. It is hardy, long-lived, vivacious, and while tame enough it does 



not become indolent or uninteresting. Though a favorite bird in Europe and 
America, and very commonly kept in both public and private gardens, it cannot be 
called a ready breeder. In the London Gardens it bred less frequently than many 
other species (P. L. Sclater, 1880), and Rogeron (1903) admits that after twenty 
years he had not succeeded in inducing his birds to lay. C. Smith (1881) seems to 
have been one of the first amateurs to breed it to any extent in England, and Sir 
Ralph Payne-Gallwey was also successful. In Germany amateurs appear to have 
reared them not uncommonly at least as early as 1828 (Naumann, 1896-1905). In 
recent years many have been bred at Netherby (Cumberland) by Sir Richard 
Graham, where they are said to have laid almost as freely as Teal (Gladstone, 1910). 
Mr. Wormald and Mr. St. Quintin as well as Lord William Percy have also reared 
many, and in Holland Mr. Blaauw has been as successful with Widgeon as with 
most other species he has attempted. 

In England the price for live birds has always been very reasonable, averaging 
perhaps 25 shillings a pair, and fine hand-reared ones can even now be purchased 
for about 40 shillings. We used to buy them here in America for $12.00 to $15.00 
per pair, sometimes less. The species has been bred in America by Mr. Henry Cook 
of Woodbury, Long Island (New York), and by Mr. John Cox at Brewster, Massa- 

An interesting method of artificially increasing the breeding stock of several 
species of wild ducks has been carried out in England, at Netherby, by Sir Richard 
Graham. The fowl are caught in considerable numbers in decoys, their wing-feathers 
are clipped and they are kept through the winter in enclosures. In the spring, 
a short time before the breeding season, the stumps of the primaries are pulled 
and the birds returned to their enclosures. In three or four weeks they will be fly- 
ing, but the season is then so advanced that the migratory impulse is subordinated 
to the breeding instinct. Ducks so managed are much more likely to breed than 
are pinioned birds, and much of the recent increase of breeding Widgeon, Gadwall 
and Shovellers in the British Isles is doubtless due to this and other practices carried 
out on a large scale. 

Another famous Netherby experiment made by Sir Richard Graham consists of 
crossing Widgeon, Pintail and Gadwall, with Mallard and then crossing the re- 
sulting hybrids back to pure stocks, until a nearly pure home-bred local stock 
has been produced. In the case of the Widgeon the Netherby stock was started in 
1903, and when Millais reported upon it in 1913, there were at least a thousand 

The Widgeon is long-lived in captivity but not exceptionally so. The average 
duration of life of forty-one specimens kept in the London Gardens was about five 
years, the maximum being about thirteen (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). The Giza Zoologi- 
cal Gardens at Cairo, in their report for the year 1921, list one specimen which had 



lived in the Gardens for thirteen years and four months. But Meade-Waldo (Lon- 
don Field, May 25, 1897) has recorded specimens kept for eighteen, twenty-two and 
twenty-three years respectively, while Schmidt (1878) claims to have kept one for 
the incredibly long period of forty-one years, a record which is more than doubtful. 

Hybrids. Considering the enormous numbers of Widgeon that have passed 
through the hands of observant sportsmen and naturalists, the per cent of wild 
hybrids recorded is extremely small. Suchetet (1896) lists wild hybrids between this 
species and the Pintail, Common Teal, Mallard, Garganey and Gadwall. Van 
Kempen (1890) has described hybrids between the Widgeon and the Formosan Teal 
and between the Widgeon and the Black Scoter, both probably wild, though the 
history of the specimens is not known. Mr. N. Kuroda of Tokio writes me that he 
has taken no less than three wild crosses between this duck and the Falcated Teal 
{Ana^ falcata) in his decoy-pond at Haneda, Japan, between 1907 and 1922 (see 
Tori, vol. 3, 1923, for plate). 

In captivity the Widgeon has been crossed with the Carolina Duck, Red-crested 
Pochard and the Tufted Duck (Poll, 1911), and I saw a hybrid with the Falcated 
Teal in the Amsterdam Gardens. The American and the European Widgeons have 
been crossed on the estate of Earl Grey in Cumberland, and a mating between Anas 
penelope and Anas sibilatrix produced a hybrid which strikingly resembled the 
American Widgeon (Shaw-Bailey, 1918). 


(Plate 29; Plate 30) 


Anas americana Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 526, 1788. 
Anas wigeon Bonnaterre, Encyclop. Methodique, vol. 1, p. 129, pi. 33, fig. 4, 1790. 
Mareca americana Stephens, General Zool., vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 135, 1824. 

Marica americana Swainson, Classification of Birds, vol. 2, p. 366, 1837. 
Chaulelasmus americanus Lichtenstein, Nomenclator Avium Mus. Berol.,p. 102,1854. 
Mareca penelope americana, Blasius, List Birds Europe, p. 21, 1862. 

Vernacular Names 

English: American Widgeon, Baldpate, Poacher, Wheat Duck, Bald Crown, Bald- 
faced Widgeon, Green-headed Widgeon, Baldhead, Southern Widgeon, White- 
belly, Smoking Duck. 

German: Amerikanische Pfeifente. 

French: Canard d’Amerique. 

Creole: Zin-zin. 

Spanish: Pato chalcuan, Pato cabanca. 

Mexican: Xalcanauhtli. 

Guatemala: Gallareta. 

Eskimo: Nimimipikhtwan, Tingazomear. 


Adult Male; Forehead and whole top of head white, or pale buff. Sides of the face and neck white 
or cream color, thickly dotted with black. Behind the eye a wide patch of iridescent green running 
back and meeting its fellow at the occiput. This green patch is often merely a series of green spots. 
Mantle and scapulars vinaceous brown, finely vermiculated with wavy black lines. Back and rump 
gray, finely vermiculated; rump nearly white. Breast and sides of breast same as in European 
Widgeon. Lower parts similar, but flanks more vinaceous in tone. Under tail-coverts, tail and upper 
tail-coverts as in Anas penelope. Wing as in the European bird, but the axillars are either pure 
white or slightly speckled at the tips, never speckled all over. 

Bill bright slate-blue, black at the tip, and with a black line along base of culmen. Legs and feet 
yellowish to bluish brown, webs dusky. Iris dark brown. 

Wing 252-270 mm.; bill 45-48; tarsus 36-41. 

W'eight 2 pounds to 2 pounds 7 ounces (0.95 to 1.1 kilograms), the maximum weight recorded twice 
by myself. Average for birds in good condition, a trifle over 2 pounds. 

Adult Female: Very similar to Anas penelope, especially the gray types of that species, but the head 
usually much grayer. Axillars pure white, or with only a few freckles along shaft, or near the tips; 



never freckled darkly all over. In July the breeding females become darker, especially on the top of 
the head, and on the mantle and scapulars. Bill, legs and feet almost the same as in the male, but 
somewhat duller in tone; iris dark browm. 

IVing 236-258 mm.; bill 33-37; tarsus 37-40. 

Weight 1 pound 8 ounces to 2 pounds (0.68 to 0.95 kilograms), maximum weight recorded once by 
myself. Average for birds in good condition 1 pound 12 ounces (0.79 kilograms). 

Young Female in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Like adult female, but mantle more uniform and 
lacking light bars for the most part. Wing-coverts lacking the well-defined light borders of adult 
specimens. Green of speculum absent or poorly developed. Tips of tail-feathers blunt. No elonga- 
tion of central feathers. 

Young Male in First Plum.vge: Closely resembles young female, but by September the median 
wing-coverts usually begin to show more white, mixed with the gray feathers. The mantle is more or 
less barred with fulvous, as in the adult female. In the month of October obscurely vermiculated 
feathers begin to appear upon the mantle or scapulars, and a few iridescent green feathers may be 
present above or behind the ej'e. 

Young Male in First W'inter: Gradually assumes adult plumage, which may be attained by 
March, but is probably very seldom perfect before the age of sixteen or seventeen months, that is 
by the second autumn. 

Male in Eclipse Plumage: There is a general resemblance to the female, but the coloring of the 
head, sides of the breast and fianks is much richer in tone, inclining to chestnut instead of to dull 
brownish. The mantle and scapulars also are somewhat richer in color and may contain a few 
vermiculated black-and-white feathers. The wing has the large white elbow-patch as in the winter 
plumage, so that the adult male can always be told at a glance at any time during the summer. It is 
not easy to distinguish this species in full eclipse from the European Widgeon in full eclipse except 
by the much grayer head of the former. 

Young in Down: Apparently some are indistinguishable from those of the European species. Other 
specimens which I have seen show a little more tendency to a dark orbital streak or to a difference in 
tone of the body coloring (see under European Widgeon), but the downy young of ducks are apt to 
vary considerably, and I do not think this denotes any real difference. Young with first feathers 
upon scapular region, abdomen and sides, can be easily told from the young of Mallards by the more 
rusty look of the flanks, and by the shorter bill. 


Breeding Range 

The breeding grounds of the American Widgeon lie chiefly in western Canada, though it nests to a 
certain extent in the plains of our western States. The easternmost records of its breeding are for 
Indiana, where, according to A. W. Butler (1898) it is a rare summer resident in the northern part. 
The U.S. Biological Survey has more recent notes of its nesting at English Lake in the same State. 
It does not breed in Michigan (Barrows, 1912), nor in Illinois, and only to a very limited extent in 
Wisconsin, about Lake Kushkonong (Kumlien and Hollister, 1903; U.S. Biological Survey). Accord- 
ing to Roberts (1919) it does not breed even in Minnesota, but Hatch (1892) gives several older rec- 
ords for the State, and Mr. Avery, of the U.S. Biological Survey, found many breeding there in 

IMap 43. Distribution of American Widgeon {Anas americana) 
Breeding range, dotted line; winter range, broken line 
Sporadic records indicated by crosses (X) 




Farther west it is said to be a rare summer resident as far south as Kansas (Goss, 1886; Bunker, 
1913) although H. Harris (1919) says it is not known to breed in the Kansas City region. It nests 
rarely in the sand-hill region of Nebraska too (U.S. Biological Survey notes; Bruner, Kansas 
Wolcott and Swenk, 1905; Oberholser, 1920), but various reports of its breeding in 
Louisiana need verification. It appears to be an imcommon breeding bird in South 
Dakota (McChesney, 1879; U.S. Biological Survey) but nests commonly in North Dakota (Coues, 
1874; Bent, 1901-02) and in Montana (Coues, 1874; A. A. Saunders, 1921). It is probably a summer 
resident to some extent in Wyoming (W. C. Knight, 1902) for it breeds, though not Wyoming 
commonly, in Colorado (W. L. Sclater, 1912), and probably in certain parts of New 


Mexico, — Lake Burford (Wetmore, 1920), — and perhaps in the Mogollon Moun- 
tains in Arizona (Mearns, 1890). It nests also in parts of Utah (Wetmore, 1921; D. M. Lindsay, 
U.S. Biological Survey), in Nevada (Hoffman, 1881; Cooke, 1906) and in Idaho and Montana 
(Wyman; Thomas; U.S. Biological Survey). In California it has been found breeding only in 
Modoc County (W. L. Dawson, 1916), but it is rather common and breeds in south- 
eastern Oregon (Bendire, 1877) and it is practically certain that it nests in the interior 
of Washington (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909). 

In Canada the breeding range lies chiefly east of the Rockies, though some nest in the interior of 
British Columbia (Kermode, 1904; A. Brooks, 1918). It does not seem to be very abundant as a 
breeder in Alberta (Horsbrugh, 1915; Soper, 1918) but it is a common breeder in Western 
Saskatchewan (J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909) especially in the Churchill River region Canada 
(Buchanan, 1920). Some time ago it was a common nesting bird in western Manitoba (Seton, 1886) 
about Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg (E. E. Thompson, 1891) but it is said to be very scarce 
now in the Shoal Lake district (Taverner, 1919). This is about the eastern limit of the breeding 
range in Canada, though single specimens have been recorded from Hudson Bay, the Nelson River 
and Fort Churchill (Preble, 1902). Buchanan (1920) reports it from a locality north of Fort du 

The breeding grounds par excellence of this species seem to lie farther north, in the region about 
Lake Athabasca, Great Slave Lake, and in the MacKenzie and Yukon basins. Preble (1908) says 
it is abundant throughout the wooded portion of this district. His party met with it 
on the lower Athabasca and Peace Rivers, about Lake Athabasca, along the Great 
Slave River and about Great Slave Lake, and thence northward along the MacKenzie as far as Forts 
Good Hope and MacPherson. Mr. Francis Harper, who visited the region about the Athabasca 
Delta for me in 1920, found it seventh in abimdance among the ducks, and took several nests. 
Stefansson (1913) found it on the Hay River and Great Slave River, and MacFarlane (1908) says it 
is common from Fort Resolution north to the Anderson River. He took nests at Fort Anderson, and 
farther east on the Swan River. Stefansson was told that it is found rarely on the Horton River 
(Franklin Bay). Some of these far northern records are not of breeding birds, but may be accounted 
for by summer excursions northward of young birds or males that are through breeding. 

Farther westward the species has been taken on the Macmillan River (Osgood, 1909), on the Peel 
River (Preble, 1908) and on the Porcupine River (U.S. Biological Survey). It has not yet been seen 
on the Arctic coast of Alaska, but appears to be not uncommon in the Yukon Basin 
(Dali, 1869). Blackwelder (1919) found it the commonest duck on the Birch Creek 
Flats (upper Yukon). On the coast of Alaska it seems to breed as far north as Kotzebue Sound 
(Nelson, 1883). It is said to nest commonly cn the coasts of Norton Sound (Nelson, 1883) but seems 
to be rare about St. Michael’s (Nelson, 1887; Dali, 1869). There is no record of its occurrence on the 
eastern Aleutian Islands excepting one for Atka; it is reported as rare on Attu (Turner, 1886). A 
dead specimen was found on Bering Island on May 1, 1883 (Stejneger, 1885). The only record for the 
Alaska Peninsula is that by Gianini (1917) who saw a pair on June 2 near Stepovak Bay. In south- 
eastern Alaska the species is not common, and probably does not breed. It has been noted at Big 




John Bay and Rocky Pass (Bailey, MS.). Specimens have also been taken on Admiralty Island 
(J. Grinnell, 1910). 

The Baldpate is said to breed in the Valle de Mexico (Villada, 1891-92) but this is very unlikely. 
Other sporadic summer occurrences are those for Detroit, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec, 
Eastern southern New Brunswick and Halifax (U.S. Biological Survey). There are numerous 

Canada reports of its appearance in southeastern Labrador, but only the record for Old Fort 

Bay seems to be trustworthy (C. W. Townsend and Allen, 1907). Cooke (1906) says it has been 
taken as far east as Newfoundland. 

A word must be said about the reputed occurrence and breeding of this species in northern Iceland. 
Coburn claims to have made this remarkable discovery in the summer of 1899, and in 1901 exhibited 
adult males, females, and nestlings to the British Ornithologists’ Club (Bull. British Ornith. 
Club, vol. 12, p. 14, 1901), at which time no one seems to have questioned him about it. In 
the description of his trip Coburn (1901) says he found the species in three different localities, 
in two of which it was breeding. “The Icelanders knew the male well enough, although as a 
rare visitor, but regarded it as being only a variety of the Common Widgeon. The female they 
could not distinguish at all,” he says. Hantzsch (1905), in his monograph on the birds of Iceland, 
points out that Coburn fails to give any localities for his remarkable find, and says he could not 
reach Coburn by mail. But Dresser and Sharpe, to whom he wrote, seemed inclined to accept 
Coburn’s statement. Hantzsch himself gives an Icelandic name for the species (Ameriskur Ond) 
which would indicate that the natives knew it, as Coburn says. From his account it would seem that 
Coburn was in northwestern Iceland. I might also say that Hartert (1920) regards the whole story 
as incredible, and I have since been informed that Coburn’s work cannot be taken seriously. 

Winter Range 

The Baldpate spends the cold season chiefly in the southern, coastal fresh- or brackish-water 
regions of the United States. On the west coast it is common in the southern part of British Columbia 
British (Kermode, 1904; A. Brooks, in litt.) and is said to be the commonest duck on the 

Columbia coasts of Washington (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909). It is found abundantly 

on the coasts and great lakes of Oregon (Pope, 1895-96; Woodcock, 1902; U.S. Biological Survey), 
in the interior valleys of California (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918), and in southern Arizona 
Western (Swarth, 1914), southern New Mexico (Cooke, 1906) and southern Texas (Sennett, 

States 1879). On the coasts of Texas it is very plentiful (Sennett, 1878; McAtee, in verbis) 

and it is common in Louisiana also (Beyer, Allison and Kopnian, 1907). In the Mississippi Basin 
it winters far north, reaching even to Illinois (Cooke, 1906). It has even been reported from Idaho 
in late December. It is found along the entire Gulf Coast, but in Florida it does not occur south of 
Fort Bassinger (U.S. Biological Survey). 

On the Atlantic coast it is found in Georgia, very abundantly in South Carolina (Wayne, 1910), 
in great numbers in North Carolina {vide Status), Virginia (Rives, 1890), Maryland (Kirkwood, 
Atlantic 1895) north as far as Baltimore (U.S. Biological Survey), and in Delaware (Rhoads 

Coast and Pennock, 1905). Farther north it occurs in winter only irregularly, on the 

coasts of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and even in Maine (G. M. Allen, 1909). 

South of the United States the Baldpate winters in Lower California (Brewster, 1902) and in 
Mexico proper at least as far south as the Valle de Mexico. Grayson found it common at Mazatlan 
in November (Lawrence, 1874). Salvin and Godman (1897-1904) give Cachuta, So- 
nora, Hermosillo, Presidio de Mazatlan, Guanajuato as specific localities where it has 
been found. Villada (1891-92) says it is common in the Valle de Mexico, and Beebe (1905) found it 
abundant about Lake Chapala. Specimens have also been taken in Jalisco, Colima and Michoacan 
(U.S. Biological Survey). Farther south the species has been taken in western Guatemala at Duenas, 




Chiapam, Lake Atitlan (where it is common). Laguna, Acapam and San Geronimo (Sahun and 
Godman, 1897-1904). It has been traced even farther to Nicaragua at El Boquete on the lake, where 
it has been seen in flocks (Rendahl, 1919). De Armas (1893) includes the species in his list of the 
birds of Colon. 

The Baldpate occasionally visits some of the Pacific islands. Beck (1907) saj^s he saw many on 
Clipperton Island, and it is occasionally found on Oahu, Maui and Laysan in the Hawaiian Islands 
(R. C. L. Perkins, 1903). In recent years it has been taken even in Japan, near Haneda Pacific 
(between Tokio and Yokohama), on December 4, 1908, and January 16, 1918 (Kuroda, Islands 

In the Atlantic the species wanders south as far as Trinidad (F. M. Chapman, 1894) and occurs 
occasionally on St. Thomas (Corj% 1889), Porto Rico (Wetmore, 1916) and Jamaica Trinidad 
(P. L. Sclater, 1910). According to Gundlach (1875) it is common in Cuba from West 
September to April or May, but this must have been under exceptional conditions. It Indies 
has been taken on Andros in the Bahamas (Riley, 1905) and is known to have straggled to the 
Bermudas, notably in 1854 (J. M. Jones, 1859; Reid, 1884). In the Azores it has been ^ 
taken on San Miguel, and is said to be not uncommon (Hartert and Ogilvie-Grant, 

1905). There are a number of references for Europe, many of which are undoubtedly for escaped 
birds. The only valid ones seem to be three for Great Britain (Brit. Ornith. Union British 
Checklist, 1915) and one for Le Crotoy, France, April 13, 1875 (Marmottan and Isles 
Vian, 1879). Recently the Baldpate has been twice taken in Scotland: in Fife and Stirling (J. A. 
Anderson, 1920; Rintoul and Baxter, 1920). 


Throughout the west-central parts of the United States the Baldpate occurs almost exclusively 
on passage. This area includes chiefly Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Wisconsin, 
Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The migration appears to be primarily from southeast to northwest 
and return. Representative dates of arrival as given by Cooke (1906) are: western New York, March 
23; Erie, Pennsylvania, March 24; Oberlin, Ohio, March 17; southern Michigan, March 25; Keokuk, 
Iowa, March 15; central Nebraska, March 17; Loveland, Colorado, March 10. After reaching this 
latitude the birds proceed more slowly, arriving at Heron Lake, Minnesota, on March 29; in southern 
Manitoba, April 20; at Terry, Montana, April 8; at Indian Head, Saskatchewan, April 24; and at 
Osier, Saskatchewan, May 2. Cooke (1906) makes some interesting observations as to the rate of 
progression. He reckons an average speed of seventeen miles per day from central Nebraska to 
Heron Lake, Minnesota, and of eighteen miles per day from there to southern Manitoba. The 
average rate from Colorado to Montana he figures at sixteen miles per day and thinks this rate is 
maintained northward to Saskatchewan. In his opinion the MacKenzie River breeding birds do not 
come from the Atlantic nor up the Mississippi, but from the Pacific coast, as the known rate of 
advance for the Mississippi River migrants would bring them to the far-northern breeding grounds 
at a date much later than is actually the case. Banded specimens may some day settle questions like 
this. Widgeon reach the mouth of the Yukon early in May, and the earliest record for the lower 
MacKenzie is late April, which must be regarded as verj’ exceptional. 

In the autumn the first birds appear in the northern States in mid-September, and on this southern 
migration the species is more common in the northeastern districts, Ontario, Quebec and the Mari- 
time Provinces, than in spring (J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909) and the same is true in the New Eng- 
land and Middle States. At Squibnockett Pond, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, in 1919, the 
first arrivals were six or eight, noted on August 31. By September 15 there were thirty there, and on 
the 21st of September about seventy-five. I saw a single specimen on the Kennebec River, Maine, 
on September 5, 1919. This shows that there is a flight probably of young birds very early in the 



season. The main body, says Cooke (1906), arrives in the northern United States in early October, 
reaching the Middle Atlantic States about the middle of the same month. Some stay as late as the 
end of September in Alaska, the end of October in Ontario and early November in Alberta. 

Spring records for New England do occur, although they are rare. I have never seen but one pair in 
Massachusetts. The spring route is evidently not much farther west than the autumn route, for at 
Monroe, Michigan, during fifteen years they were killed regularly in fair numbers. 

Sporadic records show that Baldpates do straggle as far east as Harrington, north shore of the 
Gulf of St. Lawrence (H. F. Lewis, 1922), but it is a very rare bird in all of Canada east of the 
Great Lakes. 


Haunts. The Baldpate is notoriously local and irregular in its distribution, even 
where it occurs in large numbers, as it does on Currituck Sound. In Massachusetts 
there seem to be but three sheets of w’ater suited to its needs, and here it remains 
until frozen out in the late autumn or early winter. It is not particularly a marsh 
duck, but depends upon large sheets of water, wLere pond-weeds {Potamogeton) and 
widgeon-grass {Ruppia) float on the surface or are not so deep that the bird cannot 
easily reach them. It is far more of a fresh-water bird than its European cousin, but 
this is perhaps due to the greater abundance of brackish and fresh-water sounds on 
our coast, rather than to any innate differences in the two species. As one goes 
south from Currituck to the salt sounds of Albemarle and Pamlico one finds fewer 
and fewer Widgeon, but where a large artificial lake has been constructed on Pea 
Island beach (North Carolina) the Widgeon and other fresh-water ducks appear 
regularly. They never seem to feed with the Brant, as the European Widgeon 

On the Pacific coast, w'here brackish lagoons are less abundant, the Baldpate is 
found, at least on migration, on the tidal flats of Puget Sound (W. L. Daw’son and 
Bowles, 1909) and in British Columbia. Major Allan Brooks, who is familiar wdth 
both the European and the American species, tells me that at Comox, British Co- 
lumbia, on the east coast of Vancouver Island, the wintering Widgeon w^ere just as 
maritime as their relatives on the tidal estuaries of the British Isles ; although he 
does not think that they prefer eel-grass (Zostera) to all other sea-plants. 

Identification of the Baldpate on the water is rather easy on account of the small 
head and bill, pale-rusty coloring (in the females and young) and (in the males) the 
presence of the white head-cap. In flight the deeply depressed wdngs on the down 
stroke, the snow-white breasts and the male’s whistled note are diagnostic. 

Wabiness. The Baldpate is rightly regarded as one of the wariest of shoal-water 
ducks, and one most uncertain in its behavior. Its habit of keeping in large flocks 
and of circling many times before alighting in any suspected locality gives it a much 
better opportunity than most ducks have of discovering the concealed hunter and 



the nature of his counterfeits. G. B. Grinnell (1901) regards it as the shiest of all our 
ducks, but it is doubtful if it exceeds the Pintail in wariness. 

On its northern breeding grounds it is not considered at all a shy bird (Preble, 
1908) and Audubon thought it less shy than most other ducks, at least in secluded 
districts. It was long ago found to be one of the most difficult birds to bring within 
shot by the old method of toling with a dog, which was used so successfully on 
many species of diving ducks (Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884). 

Small companies or single birds approach decoys much more easily than the 
larger flocks in which there are always old, wary males who continually whistle and 
draw the less cautious ones away from the danger point. They seem to be a mixture 
of curiosity and caution, and sometimes flocks will continue to circle over and alight 
in a locality where they have heard the sound of guns all day long. Bowles (W. L. 
Dawson and Bowles, 1909) says he has lured them within ten yards, by lighting a 
pipe and puffing a cloud of smoke into the air at short intervals! 

Daily Movements. Baldpate are among the first water-fowl to acquire the sea- 
going habit after arrival on our Atlantic coast. Forty or fifty years ago they were 
said never to leave Currituck Sound during their autumn and winter stay, but their 
habits have been greatly modified by time and circumstances, and now they go out 
to sea about sunrise. There are three days a week at Currituck, during which 
shooting is forbidden by County law, and during these days fewer Baldpate take 
refuge on the ocean. Audubon spoke of them as feeding at all hours of the day when 
in full security, but in inhabited sections feeding at night or in the morning. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. In these respects the Baldpate differs in no way from 
the European Widgeon. 

Flight. There is nothing characteristic about the flight, which closely resembles 
that of its Old World cousin, the rustling or fluttering sound being heard in both 
species. Large flocks are common on the wintering grounds. \Mien traveling short 
distances no special formation is observed. On migration the flocks thin out into 
long wavering lines or verj" blunt wedges, but it seems that by the time the birds 
reach their northern breeding grounds, and are following up the retreating ice the 
flocks split up into pairs or small parties (Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884; F. 
Harper, MS.). 

Association myth other Species. As the Baldpate prefers open water to 
marshy districts, it associates less commonly with Mallards or Black Duck. On the 
other hand I have seen them mingle with great masses of Pintail, and Audubon also 
speaks of their mixing with Pintail and Teal rather than with the larger marsh ducks. 



The older writers were much impressed by the parasitic habits of the Baldpate 
when feeding among diving ducks, especially the Canvas-back and Red-head. They 
noted the superior agility of the Baldpate in seizing wild celery and other food 
brought up by deej>-water ducks. I have often watched them feeding among Scaups 
and Redhead, and I believe that this association is of the most amicable kind. The 
divers prefer the roots and seed-pods of the vegetation brought up, while the Bald- 
pate is interested chiefly in the blades of these grasses, so there is probably no occa- 
sion for the contention which some writers describe. 

On the breeding grounds this species does not commonly deposit its eggs in the 
nests of other ducks, but in North Dakota, Bent (1901-02) found one Baldpate’s 
nest containing eggs of the White-winged Scoter, and another containing an egg of 
the Lesser Scaup. Shoveller’s eggs have also been found in a Baldpate’s nest (Job, 

Voice. The character of the voice is that of the European Widgeon, but the 
whistle of the male is less harsh and piercing, and the bird seems less vociferous. 
The female is a silent bird, and ordinarily its note is never heard in autumn or winter. 
The male’s note may be described as a soft, rather musical, Teal-like whistle, usually 
double and sometimes trisyllabic. The female’s ordinary note, which is essentially 
that of the female European Widgeon, is a sort of grating croak, often represented 
as grrr-grrr or karrr. Major Allan Brooks told me that he had occasionally heard 
young females, when coming to decoys, uttering a rough croaking quack, — a 
rapidly repeated ka-ka-ka, almost chattering. I do not remember ever having 
heard this note myself. 

The trachea is about 160 mm. long, and the tracheal bulb, which is ellipsoidal, 
faces to the left and front. It is markedly smaller than the same structure in the 
European bird, measuring about 17 mm. in its longest axis, by 12 mm. in its shorter 

Food. The Baldpate is very largely a vegetable feeder, and its food-habits in 
general bear a great resemblance to those of the Gadwall. But it is even less of a 
seed-eater than the latter, and depends largely on pond-weeds and wild celery for its 
sustenance. It also grazes on upland grass more commonly than any other Ameri- 
can duck. Sportsmen have often remarked that the Baldpate is much more diflBcult 
to bait than the Mallard or the Black Duck. Nevertheless I have seen them come 
well to bait in a pond on Martha’s Vineyard Island, Massachusetts. Audubon speaks 
of their alighting in cornfields in the South, and feeding on worms, insects and grain, 
but it is probable that the actual food was mostly grass sprouts. 

The only exhaustive study of the Baldpate’s winter diet was made by the U.S. 
Biological Survey, and was based on 255 stomachs collected between September 



and April, mostly from Utah, Oregon and North Carolina, with contributions from 
23 other States, 4 Canadian Provinces, Alaska and Mexico. The vegetable food 
averaged 92.23% of the total, and this in turn consisted of pond-weeds (42.82%), 
grasses (13.9%), algae (7.71 %), sedges (7.41%), wild celery and water-weeds (5.75%), 
water milfoils (3.48%), duck-weeds (2.2%), smart-weeds (1.47%) and various other 
items about (8.5%). By far the most important foods were the true pond-weeds 
(of various species) and widgeon-grass (Ruppia maritima). The few stomachs from 
southwestern Washington contained largely the leaves and root-stalks of eel-grass 
{Zoster a), which is the principal winter food of the European Widgeon. The animal 
food, comprising 6.77 %, is said to be unduly large on account of a group of birds 
from southern Oregon which had fed almost exclusively on snails. Fragments of 
small bivalves were found in 6 stomachs and snails in 29. The percentage of insects 
and crustaceans was negligible (Mabbott, 1920). 

The stomachs of seven birds which I collected on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachu- 
setts, on December 1st, 1919, were examined by Mr. W. F. Kubichek of the U.S. 
Biological Survey. They contained nothing but sago pond-weed {Potamogeton 
pectinatus) and gravel, without any admixture of animal matter. 

The summer food is undoubtedly very different in character, with a much larger 
proportion of animal matter. In Norton Sound, Alaska, they were found feeding 
largely on insects (Adams, in Baird, Brewer and Ridgv'ay, 1884). 

Courtship and Nesting. In Millais’ (1902) opinion the display of the Baldpate is 
“precisely similar’’ to that of its European relative (see Plate 30). It has been de- 
scribed by C. W. Townsend (1916), and Mr. Harper, who has recently been collecting 
for me in the region aboutUake Athabasca, has sent me some interesting field-notes. 
On April 11, 1920, the Saskatchewan River just below Edmonton was still frozen solid, 
except for a few pools of open water. Suddenly three ducks shot down from a great 
height and alighted on one of these pools. They had evidently just arrived from the 
south and were two males and a female. As soon as they had settled, the two former 
began to display. They “milled around, whistling excitedly when when when, and 
cocking up their wings in a remarkably coot-like manner. This tilting of wings 
reached ordinarily an angle of perhaps 45 degrees, but in the moments of greatest 
excitement it went probably to 60 degrees or even 70 degrees. At least once or twice 
the two males went for each other roughly, with bills working and wings heavily flap- 
ping the water. The female, meanwhile, was anything but passive. She, too, cocked 
her wings up to 45 degrees or so, and they were conspicuously crossed in this posi- 
tion. She kept up a purring, growling grrr-grrr, dabbed her head excitedly to one 
side, and nodded it vigorously.” Mr. Harper suggests that the wing-raising may 
have some connection with the exposure of the black crissum and the white patch 
anterior to it. 



The mating flight has been well described by Wetmore (1920) and was first seen 
by Mr. Harper on the Athabasca on May 21. It is certain that these flights do not 
take place until after the breeding grounds have been actually reached, and prob- 
ably not until nesting has begun. As described by Wetmore (1920) this nuptial 
flight is performed with great dash and speed, even more than in the Gadwall, the 
males darting ahead of the females, setting and decurving their wings, and throwing 
their heads up, exhibiting their striking markings to the best advantage. Both male 
and female call constantly during this performance, and two males and a female 
invariably took part in what he calls the “display-flight.” 

The Baldpate is one of the late-nesting ducks, laying as late as the Gadwall or even 
later, and at about the same time as the Lesser Scaup. In North Dakota the average 
date for full clutches was about June 15 (Job, 1902) and Bent (1901-02) found very 
few eggs before June 1. Of course the seasons vary so much that only comparative 
dates are of much interest or value. During the spring of 1920, which was a late 
one, the first brood of young was seen on July 4 at the mouth of the Athabasca, but 
nests were discovered at the end of the first week of July (Harper, MS.). Even in the 
southern limits they breed late, in Utah mostly mid-May to mid-June and in Modoc 
County, California, a clutch of nine fresh eggs was found on June 20 (Grinnell, 
Bryant and Storer, 1918). On the other hand eggs were found as early as the end of 
May at St. Michael’s, Alaska (Nelson, 1887). Preble (1908) found young unable to 
fly, north of Fort Rae, on August 1 and 4, and young in this condition have been seen 
as late as the middle of September in North Dakota (Coues, 1874). 

The location chosen for the nest varies somewhat, but is commonly on high, dry 
ground, in wooded or brushy country. It is frequently at the foot of a tree and may 
be at some distance from the water (Nelson, 1887; Bent, 1901-02; J. and J. M. 
Macoun, 1909; Kennicott, in Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884; F. Harper, MS.). 
Kennicott says that in Alaska he several times found single perfect eggs dropped on 
the bank of a river. 

The normal clutch numbers from eight to twelve eggs, the average being about 
ten. The eggs are like those of the European Widgeon and cannot always be dis- 
tinguished from those of the Gadwall. They are deep cream to nearly white in color 
and measure 51-60.1 mm. by 36.2-40.1 mm., the average being 55.1 by 38.8 (Grin- 
nell, Bryant and Storer, 1918). 

The period of incubation is the same as with the European Widgeon, that is, from 
twenty-two to twenty-four days, a good deal less than in the Mallard. Females 
with young employ the usual ruses for leading the intruder away from the brood by 
flapping along on the water imtil the family is considered safe. The males begin to 
flock together early in the breeding season, and even by July 6 they were seen in 
small bands in the Athabasca Delta (Harper, MS.), while Preble (1908) saw a flock 
composed entirely of males on the Slave River as early as June 30. Harper saw some 

Plate 30 




signs of incipient eclipse as early as July 1, the long central tail-feathers being 
apparently the first to be dropped. 

Status. Figures showing relative numbers of this species shot in different 
regions probably do not give an accurate estimate of the actual numbers present, 
because the Baldpate is a wary bird and the flocks do not split up into small parties 
that are easy to decoy. The numbers taken at Long Point (Lake Erie) vary from 
63 to 663 a year, this last high figure being for 1919. Between 1889 and 1905 out of a 
total of 95,049 ducks taken, 4848 (about 5%), were Baldpates, while from 1906 to 
1920 out of a total of 61,063 the Baldpates numbered 4498 or about 7%. At the 
Monroe Marsh Club (west end of Lake Erie) the proportions were slightly higher. 
Out of 40,615 ducks taken between 1885 and 1901, 3383 (8%) were Baldpates. Even 
in the spring a good many used to be taken, the proportion running as high as 5.5 % 
of the total. In this region there is no indication of recent decrease, either relative or 
absolute. The report of the Minnesota Game Commission for the years 1919-20 
shows that from 30,000 to 120,000 Baldpates are taken in that State annually, which 
is from 3% to 12% of the total number of ducks killed there. 

In northern New England they are known as rare ducks. In twenty years of 
shooting at Wenham Lake, Essex County, Massachusetts, they represent only 2% 
of the total bag. But south of Cape Cod they are found in abundance on Martha’s 
Vineyard, Massachusetts, where perhaps 2500 birds spend the autumn months each 
year and occasionally winter there. They are extremely local and irregular south- 
westward along the coast, occurring on a few ponds in Rhode Island and in consider- 
able numbers on Gardiner’s Island, in Long Island Sound. They become really 
plentiful in Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina. At the Princess Anne Club, 
Virginia, they were third in order of abundance from 1894 to 1921 and averaged 
15 % of all ducks. At the Swan Island Club (Currituck Sound, North Carolina) they 
are also about the third duck in order of abundance and 4458 were taken there be- 
tween 1909 and 1918. At the Narrows Isle Club, North Carolina, they have shown 
a decrease between 1886 and 1923, amounting perhaps to 20 or 30%. They average 
a little over 10% of all ducks shot there in thirty-eight years and the highest years 
were the winters of 1885-86, 1887-88, 1889-90 and 1903-04. The grand total 
killed was 5671. At the Currituck Club close by 11,441 Baldpates were taken in a 
total of 72,124 between 1888 and 1909, that is, about 16%, making it the third in 
order of abundance among the species of ducks killed; it was exceeded only by the 
Black Duck and the Mallard. From 1911 to 1917 there was a small decrease in the 
numbers taken and they have usually in this period been exceeded by Pintail and 
even by Gadwall. The greatest years were the winter of 1893-94, when 1029 were 
shot, and that of 1903-04 when over 1000 were taken. In South Carolina, at the 
mouth of the Santee River, the species is only moderately plentiful; here it is a little 



more common than the Pintail, and is greatly exceeded by Mallard and Black 
Duck. It represents about 8% of all ducks shot in the thirteen seasons 1908-09 to 
1921-22 at the Canaveral Club on the east coast of Florida. At St. Vincent’s Isle, 
western Florida, it is said to be common, and the same is probably true of the whole 
Gulf Coast. McAtee (U.S. Biological Survey) says he never saw larger numbers any- 
where than at Rockport (Port Bay), Texas, in December, 1910. In the Rio Grande 
valley. New Mexico, the Baldpate averages 5% of the ducks (Leopold, 1919). 

Statistics for the Pacific coast are very meager. In the years 1910-11, 14,838 
Baldpate were received by the American Game Transfer Company of San Francisco 
in a total of 71,793 ducks (20%). The Hunters’ Game Transfer Company of that 
same city, handled during the years 1906 to 1911, 357,114 ducks, of which 62,798 
(18%) were Baldpate. In Washington the Baldpate used to appear in October in 
tremendous numbers, 500,000 being estimated on the Nisqually Flats. But in the 
years just before 1909 it is said to have greatly diminished in abundance (W. L. 
Dawson and Bowles, 1909). 

Kumlien and Hollister (1903) found it decreasing in Wisconsin; it represented 
only 2.5% of the ducks killed near Delavan between 1892 and 1899 (Hollister, 1920). 
Like other ducks the species has shown a marked increase as a breeding bird in the 
middle West since 1915, responding readily to increased protection, and it has been 
recorded by the Game Commissioner as nesting in unusual numbers in Minnesota in 
1918. In North Dakota some of the U.S. Biological Survey collectors found it a 
rather rare breeder, but Bent (1901-02) says he found twelve nests in half an hour 
on an island in one of the larger lakes. In British Columbia, according to Major 
Allan Brooks (1918) this is one of the speeies that is on the increase in the interior, a 
result possibly of the increase of duck-weeds on the larger lakes. Harper’s (MS.) 
estimates of its status as a breeding species in the Lake Athabasca region place it 
surprisingly low. He found it about seventh in order of abundance. In the Shoal 
Lake region of Manitoba the species is said to be growing very scarce (Taverner, 
1919). In the Edmonton district of Alberta it is very plentiful and breeds com- 

Enemies. Nothing specific is known. 

Damage. This is probably less than with Mallards and Pintails on account of its 
preference for pond-weeds and open sheets of water. 

Food Value. My personal opinion is that the Baldpates of Currituck, and even 
those killed on our Massachusetts ponds, are second only to the Canvas-back in its 
prime. Frank Forester extolled its virtues, and yet it is surprising to find how little 
it is appreciated in comparison with the Canvas-back or Redhead. Its great ad- 



vantage for the table lies in its always being fat, averaging in this respect perhaps 
better than any other duck. Some have even classed it as better than the Canvas- 
back (Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884). On the Pacific coast, however, it is not 
always so “tasty,” and does not enjoy so high a reputation. 

Hunt. On large waters Baldpates are extremely hard birds to take in any 
numbers. They do not scatter evenly over a marsh as some species do, and it is 
seldom that a gunner will find himself in the right place for a large kill. Then, too, 
they fly high, and are too sharp-eyed to be fooled by bush-blinds and floating bat- 
teries (or sink-boxes) in the deep-water sounds. The uncertainty of their behavior 
makes them exceedingly interesting to the sportsman shooting over wooden decoys. 
Their habit of circling many times and whistling loudly gives him a chance to test 
his ability to coax them in by imitating their whistle. As with the Pintail, one gets 
mostly long, hard shots, but Baldpate are comparatively tender ducks and are 
easily knocked down by small-sized shot. 

Behavior in Captivity. Baldpates have always been sporadically kept in 
American collections and do well in captivity. So far as I know they were not bred 
until recent years, when Mr. John A. Cox of Brewster, Massachusetts, reared some, 
according to Job (1915). They are one of the most interesting and beautiful ducks 
for an ornamental pond, for besides their stylish appearance and rather musical notes, 
they are always active, and their vivacity keeps the other birds alert. 

Their absence from European collections seems quite remarkable. The species is 
not included in the 1896 list of animals in the London Gardens, and it was apparently 
not kept there even in 1911. But it was imported for the Duke of Bedford and Mr. 
W. H. St. Quintin bred it on his estate at Scampston. It was there that Sir Richard 
Graham obtained stock for his well-known experiments at Netherby. The Right 
Honourable Earl Grey of Falloden writes me that his Baldpates have interbred freely 
with the European Widgeon, but this is the first instance of this cross that I have 
heard of, and I have never seen such hybrids described. Mr. Hugh Wormald 
showed me some fine breeding pairs at his ponds in East Dereham, Norfolk, in the 
spring of 1922, and during that season one of his females laid three separate clutches 
although only five eggs out of the whole lot were fertile. This stock was a good deal 

So far as I know the American Widgeon has not been much kept on the Continent 
but the Berlin Gardens had specimens which bred for the first time in 1909 (Heinroth, 
1910a) and Mr. F. E. Blaauw (in litt.) has also bred them in Holland. 

Hybrids. Wild hybrids between the Baldpate and other species seem to be 
unusually rare. Only crosses with the Mallard and with the Gadwall have been 



recorded (Suchetet, 1896). In captivity Millais (1913) says it has mated with a 
hybrid between a Baldpate and a Mallard. 

In 1920, Mr. H. K. Job reared a fine family of hybrids from a Pintail female by a 
male Baldpate. He sent me the three males, one of which is now preserved as a 
specimen in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, in Cambridge, while the two 
others are still (1922) on my pond. At the Tring Museum I saw a specimen bred at 
Regent’s Park between this and the Bahama Duck. 


(Plate 29) 


Anas sihilatrix Poeppig, Froriep’s Notizen, vol. 31, p. 10, 1829. 

Anas chiloensis King, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1830, p. 15. 

Mareca chiloensis Eyton, Monograph Anatidse, p. 117, 1838. 

Anas parvirostris Merrem, in Ersch and Grube’s Encyclop., sect. 1, vol. 35, p. 43, 

Sarkidiornis sihilatrix G. R. Gray, Genera of Birds, vol. 3, p. 605, 1845. 
Chaulelasmns chiloensis Lichtenstein, Nomenclator Avium Mus. Berol., p. 101, 1854. 
Mareca sihilatrix Sclater and Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1876, p. 395. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Chiloe Widgeon, Chilian Widgeon. 

German: Chilenische Pfeifente, Siidamerikanische Pfeifente. 

French: Siffleur du Chili, Mareque du Chili. 

Spanish: Pato real, Pato overo, Chiriri. 


Adult Male: Front part of head white; crown and posterior part of cheeks, throat and neck, very 
dark brown to black. Behind the eyes a very beautiful metallic-colored patch of green and purple, 
extending back on to the occiput and hind neck. Mantle and scapulars black, the former barred, 
and the latter edged with white. Back black; rump and upper tail-coverts white; tail black. Breast 
barred with black and white; abdomen white. Flanks and under tail-coverts bright rust color. Wing 
with a conspicuous white patch on median and greater coverts. A black band on the greater coverts 
borders the speculum, which is black with a slight iridescence. Tertials long and pointed, black, 
bordered with white edges and iridescent, the inner tertial broadly margined with white on the outer 
web. Under wing-coverts grayish, axillars gray. 

Iris dark brown. Bill bluish to blue; black at the tip and along a line at the base of culmen. Legs 
and feet grayish to blackish. 

Whng 255-275 mm.; bill 35-36; tarsus 40-43. 

Adult Female: Plumage same as in male; soft parts as in male. 

Wing 237-245 mm.; bill 35; tarsus 40. 

Young in First Plumage (before primaries are grown) : At this stage the buff-colored downy patch 
is still present back of the eye, the occiput is black and the forehead gray. The mantle, back and 
scapulars, as well as the rump and tail are a dull brown. The breast begins to show the barring of 
the adult, while the rest of the lower surface is pure white. The flanks are barred white and black 
and lack the rich buff feathers of the adult. 



Young in Down: The young of all three species of Widgeon vary a good deal in color and that of 
this species is very close indeed to that of the European Widgeon. Sometimes it is even more rusty 
red in color on the head but at other times the head color is about the same. The body spots are 
rather prominent, especially the rump spots. It is easily told from the young of the American 
Widgeon by the rusty-pink color of the head. 

Note: There is no return to a simpler (eclipse) plumage in summer. 






The Chiloe Widgeon, which is found throughout the southern part of South America, seems to be 
essentially a non-migratory species, though in the northernmost parts of its range it appears to be a 
winter bird only. It is not a common duck north of the latitude of Buenos Aires, but 
is said to have occurred in Paraguay (H. and R. von Ihering, 1907) and in the Argen- 
tine as far north as Tucuman (Dinelli, Dabbene, 1910). It has occurred in the 
extreme southeastern part of Brazil, near Rio Grande (H. and R. von Ihering, 1907) 
and has been taken in Uruguay in the Cerro Largo and Canelones Provinces (Tremol- 
eras, 1920). From northern Argentina it has been recorded not only from Tucuman, 
but also from Cordoba (Schultz, jfde Dabbene, 1910) and Mendoza (H. Burmeister, 1860) where it is 
said to be common (Reed, 1916). Farther east and south it is found to be a very common bird in the 
Province of Buenos Aires during the winter (Hartert and Venturi, 1909; de Beauquesne, 1911; H. 
Burmeister, 1872; Withington, 1888), some remaining to breed in the southern parts of the Province 
(Durnford, 1878; E. Gibson, 1920). Throughout Patagonia it is a plentiful species, especially in the 
eastern parts. Mr. J. L. Peters, collecting for me, found it also fairly common in western Patagonia. 
Durnford (1878) found it breeding in great numbers at the mouth of the Sengelen, in Chubut, and 
Doering (1881) recorded them on the Rio Colorado and Rio Negro. Oustalet (1901) says they are 
resident on the Rio Gallegos in southern Patagonia, but Tierra del Fuego they seem to visit only 
during the breeding season. Crawshay (1907) found them quite common on that island at San 
Sebastian and in Useless Bay, while Blaauw (1916a) came across them at Estancia Sarita. There 
seem to be no records for southern Tierra del Fuego. 

Falkland Abbott (1861) and more recently Beck (MS.) found the Chiloe Widgeon on East 

Islands Falkland where the species breeds, but is very scarce. 

In Chile this duck is found north to about the same latitude as in Argentina. Cunningham (1871) 
took a few in the breeding season at Gregory Bay (Straits of Magellan) and throughout southern 
Chile it is a common bird, especially about Chiloe (Lane, 1897; Schalow, 1898; Quijada, 
1910). North of Valdivia it seems to be a rarer bird (Lane, 1897), but there are records 
for Concepcion (Schalow, 1898), Santiago (British Museum; Blaauw, 1916a), Colchagua (Lataste, 
1895) and even Coquimbo (R. B. Sharpe, 1881). These more northern records are mostly winter 



Haunts. From the meager field notes available for the study of this bird, there 
seems to be little difference between it and its relatives of North America and the 
Old World. It appears to be essentially a fresh-water species, frequenting the 
large open lagoons rather than small pools or streams (Durnford, 1878) and in any 
case preferring open water to rushy swamp localities (E. Gibson, 1920). Mr. J. L. 
Peters (MS.) found it usually on the arroyos and lagoons of the prairies in western 

Map 44. Distribution of Chilian Widgeon (^Anas sibilatrix) 

Sporadic records indicated by crosses ( X ) 



Patagonia. Though it is found chiefly on lagoons and rivers even in Chile (Quijada, 
1910) and has been seen there even on a mountain stream (Blaauw, 1916a), I suspect 
that it may be more coastal on the Pacific side of the Andes. At any rate it is an 
abundant bird on the Chiloe Islands, whence it gets its English name. 

Wariness. Like the European Widgeon and the Baldpate this species is in 
general a wild and wary bird (Abbott, 1861 ; Durnford, 1878; P. L. Sclater and Hud- 
son, 1889; E. Gibson, 1920) but at the same time it seems to become tame very 
quickly in places where unmolested. Crawshay (1907) speaks of it as the wildest of 
all ducks in Tierra del Fuego, but he tells of a pool of water kept as a sanctuary, 
some hundred yards from the manager’s house at Useless Bay Settlement, where 
sometimes as many as twenty or thirty Widgeon could be seen and conveniently 

Daily Movements. In districts where it feels secure this Widgeon feeds by 
day as well as at night, and even in the southern part of the Province of Buenos 
Aires it is said to be the first to fly to the feeding grounds in the evening, and the 
last to leave them in the morning (de Beauquesne, 1911). 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. I never made any notes on the only pair of this 
species which I kept in confinement. It is essentially “Widgeon-like” and there is 
nothing characteristic in its movements. Like its relatives in North America and in 
Europe it is a very vivacious and agile bird (de Beauquesne, 1911) but presumably 
never dives excepting when wounded. I am told by Mr. J. L. Peters that even 
when winged it does not ordinarily dive. 

Flight. The Chiloe Widgeon is a powerful flier (P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 
1889; E. Gibson, 1920) and probably does not differ at all in this respect from its 
congeners. The flocks are usually small, numbering from ten to twenty (P. L. 
Sclater and Hudson, 1889; de Beauquesne, 1911; E. Gibson, 1920), in autumn on 
migration running as high as thirty or forty (E. Gibson, 1920) and occasionally, 
perhaps in winter when flocks are more closed, numbering as many as from one to 
two hundred (P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 1889). I do not know whether this Widgeon 
has the characteristic “fluttering” action during flight common to the others. I 
presume it has but Mr. Peters was quite certain he did not hear it. 

Association with other Species. Like other Widgeon this species is not often 
found in close company with other ducks (E. Gibson, 1920), but at the mouth of the 
Chubut River it has been seen feeding together with the Brown Pintail (Durnford, 
1878). Mr. Peters tells me that in western Patagonia he found it quite commonly 


in the company of this Pintail, though the Widgeon always stayed together even in 
such mixed flocks. 

Voice. According to Rogeron (1903) the note of the male is the same as that of 
Anas penelope, and Lane (1897) also speaks of it as a “ Wigeon-like whistle.” P. L. 
Sclater and Hudson (1889) describe it as three or four long clear whistling notes 
followed by another, and concluding with a kind of flourish, andde Beauquesne (1911) 
speaks of three notes of greater fullness and softness than those of the European 
Widgeon. A mated pair seen flying about in November uttered a high-pitched nasal 
quack and occasionally a grunt in the same tone. Mr. Peters, to whom I am in- 
debted for this note, thinks both sexes uttered this cry, but I must say that this 
seems to me unlikely. Heinroth (1911) says the note of attraction of the male, 
though very similar to that of Anas penelope, can nevertheless be distinguished from 
it and he notes that, in contrast to most other ducks, the female’s voice, which is a 
rather weak rattle, is much softer than that of the male. 

The trachea is about 155 mm. long and the tracheal bulb, which faces to the left 
and forward, is roughly spherical and very large. It is 25 to 28 mm. long and 20 to 
22 mm. broad. In other words this remarkable structure is about three times as 
large as that of the European Widgeon and perhaps five times the size of the 
American Widgeon’s. 

Food. Very little is known of the feeding habits of this species. Durnford (1878) 
saw the birds feeding on the extensive mussel-beds at the mouth of the Chubut, and 
A. H. Holland (1892) says they feed on high ground among dry thistles, or even in 
the open. No doubt they are to some extent upland feeders like their relatives, and 
it is doubtful whether they ever take much coarse animal food. Crawshay (1907) 
found grass in the stomach of a specimen shot in Tierra del Fuego and in captivity 
they graze like Anas penelope (Rogeron, 1903). 

Mr. Peters collected eight stomachs at Huanuluan, Rio Negro Province, between 
August 25 and November 12, 1920. These contained nothing but vegetable matter 
and gravel. The shoots of a rush (Juncus) were by far the most important food and 
were present in five stomachs in large amount. Water crowfoot (Batrachium) was 
well represented in three stomachs (96 to 100%); and there were a few seeds to as 
many as 150 seeds of water milfoil {Myriophyllum) in six stomachs; sedge {Scirpus 
americanus) was poorly represented in only two of them (examination by U.S. Bio- 
logical Survey). 

Courtship and Nesting. Like the other Widgeon this is a late nester, certainly 
much later than Anas spinicauda (Peters, MS.). The season varies of course with the 
locality. According to de Beauquesne (1911) Widgeon are paired by August or Sep- 



tember in the southern part of the Province of Buenos Aires, and they were found 
paired in the same months in western Patagonia (Peters, MS.). In the former region 
they seem to breed in November (A. H. Holland, 1892) but in the great breeding 
areas (central and southern Patagonia) the season is naturally somewhat later: late 
December and all through January (Scott and Sharpe, 1912). Mr. Peters took a nest 
and eight eggs in western Patagonia in November and does not think the species 
nests there as late as January. Young just hatched were seen in the Falklands on 
December 13 (Beck, MS.). 

According to Heinroth (1911) there is very little in the way of display, but ob- 
servers in the field have noticed certain social plays on the water and particularly 
antics in the air, which are undoubtedly nuptial flights. Crawshay (1907) who 
watched them in Tierra del Fuego, saysJ “They would hold a merry tourney on the 
water, chasing and ducking one another, gaggling excitedly, all joining in excited 
approbation or derision from time to time. One bird would then take wing, followed 
by all the others, for a turn in the air, and then they would career round in reckless 
dashing flight — wheeling, twisting, doubling, stooping and rising • — to return to 
the water with a sounding splash.” But this remarkable exhibition in the air was 
first and most picturesquely described by Hudson (1876; also P. L. Sclater and 
Hudson, 1889; Hudson, 1892): “A dozen or twenty birds rise up until they appear 
like small specks in the sky, and sometimes disappear from sight altogether; and at 
that great altitude they continue hovering in one spot, often for an hour or longer, 
alternately closing and separating; the fine bright, whistling notes and flourishes of 
the male curiously harmonizing with the grave measured notes of the female; and 
every time they close they slap each other on the wings so smartly that the sound 
can be distinctly heard, like applauding hand-clasps, even after the birds have 
ceased to be visible.” In western Patagonia four birds were observed performing 
this erratic nuptial flight on September 11 (Peters, MS.). The “slapping” sound, 
produced by a contact in the air, has been noticed in other species of ducks. 

Very little is known of the location of the nest, but Durnford (1878) and P. L. 
Sclater and Hudson (1889) say the birds nest among the reeds on extensive marshes 
and A. H. Holland (1892) goes so far as to say that the nest rests on the water and is 
supported by dead vegetation. If this situation is the normal one it is certainly un- 
like that of the other Widgeons, which are both apt to nest on high, dry ground. A 
nest found in western Patagonia was in a hummock on the marsh (Peters, MS.). 

The clutch seems to be rather small, varying from six to nine, the normal number 
being apparently eight. The eggs are pure white to cream color, sometimes rather 
whitish brown (P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 1889; E. W. Oates, 1902; Wells, E. 
Gibson, 1920). Mr. Peters tells me that the eggs are indistinguishable from those of 
the Brown Pintail, but the Widgeon has black nest-down while that of the Pintail is 
gray. In size they vary from 53.8-61.0 mm. by 39.9-42.0 mm., the average of 



thirteen eggs being 58 by 40 mm. The exact incubation period appears to be un- 
known, but it is probably the same as that of the other Widgeon, namely, twenty- 
four days. Mr. Wormald’s captive-laid eggs hatched in twenty-three to twenty -five 
days. In the Berlin Gardens a Brown Pintail that was paired with a Chiloe Widgeon 
took twenty-four days to hatch the eggs (Heinroth, 1908). 

A characteristic of the present species is the fact that the male seems to concern 
himself with the young. This of course is not the case with the European Widgeon 
or the Baldpate, and has some connection with the fact that in the Chiloe Widgeon 
both sexes have the gaudy plumage. Heinroth (1911) noted that a male mated with 
a female of the Brown Pintail took a great interest in the young, and he says the 
attachment between the sexes in this species is particularly noticeable. The males, 
he asserts, will even protect the young of other species. Mr. Peters, however, did not 
find any male in the vicinity of a nest which he took in western Patagonia early in 
November, so that we do not yet know whether the male always stays with the 
brood. I suspect, however, that such is the case. 

Status. Of this we know nothing accurate. All ducks have diminished in 
Argentina, especially in the Province of Buenos Aires. While J. L. Peters was col- 
lecting in northwestern Patagonia and a few other points in Argentina he estimated 
that this duck ranked about 5 to 10% of all ducks. The Brown Pintail outnumbered 
the Widgeon at least ten to one and represented at least 80 to 85% of the duck 
population of those regions. The Widgeon ranked second to the Pintail and was 
next to the Varied Teal (Anas versicolor). 

Enemies. In northwestern Patagonia, Peters did not find enemies of water-fowl 
common. The only hawks there, a marsh hawk and a Buteo or hen hawk, did not 
disturb ducks. The former was living on small rodents and the latter on lizards. 
The crow tribe w'as not represented at all and fish were absent from the sloughs and 
marshes. A Caracara Eagle, which he saw attack a small lamb, might possibly 
take ducks at times, but from the nature of the bird this seems doubtful. 

Damage. Nothing recorded. 

Food Value. Like the other Widgeon this species is highly valued as an article 
of food (de Beauquesne, 1911; and others), and is as good eating as any Argentine 
duck (Peters, MS.). 

Hunt. Little need be said on this point. Its excellent flesh makes the bird a 
very desirable addition to the bag, but it is so wary that a sportsman may feel justi- 
fiable pride in bringing in one or two (E. Gibson, 1920). Still, in winter it is regularly 



found in the Buenos Aires Market, or at least it used to be in the past (H. Burmeister, 
1872). Crawshay (1907) says that when flushed the Widgeon usually makes a detour 
and comes back overhead, sometimes again and again, often so high as to be quite 
out of gunshot. They flush wider than the Pintails, who, however, quickly follow 
their example (Peters, MS.). 

Behavior in Captivity. So far as I know the Chiloe Widgeon has never been 
bred in captivity in this country. It has been kept in the New York Zoological 
Gardens and the price in America has been about $9.00 each. It was commonly 
kept in collections of water-fowl before the War but now it does not seem to come 
to our bird markets. After careful enquiries in Buenos Aires in 1920, J. L. Peters 
failed to find any one who was dealing in live water-fowl. 

The species seems to have been first introduced into England in 1870, when the 
London Gardens received specimens from Chile. These began to breed the following 
year and continued to do so almost every year thereafter. The dates of hatching are 
mostly for late May and the first half of June (P. L. Sclater, 1880), and the reversed 
seasons did not disturb them in the least. Among amateur aviculturalists who have 
bred this species in England may be mentioned Miss Hubbard (1907), Mr. Wormald 
and Earl Grey of Falloden (in litt.). The earliest date of nesting in England is 
April 27, which is neither very early nor very late. 

On the Continent this duck seems to have been introduced in the late seventies, 
and it evidently became very popular. M. Courtois (1880) bred them in France, 
two of his pairs laying forty -four eggs, of which twenty-two hatched. In 1881, 
M. Gourraud (1881) succeeded in breeding them and in 1884 M. Montlezun (1884) 
had a female incubating. She began to lay on May 11 and deposited an egg every 
other day. On May 28, 29, and 30 she remained on the eggs at night and began 
plucking feathers. Then she sat regularly, leaving only three times a day. She was 
finally disturbed by some Mandarin Ducks which broke the eggs after she had 
left. The species also bred in the Gardens at Tours in 1884 (Noenty, 1884) and 
Rogeron (1903) seems to have been raising them regularly in more recent years. In 
1922, Monsieur J. Delacour succeeded in raising nineteen ducks from twenty -three 
eggs, a really remarkable performance. 

In Berlin a number of specimens were kept in the Zoological Gardens, but ap- 
parently no young have been reared. Most of the birds there appear to mate with 
other species, and one pair that had mated produced about twenty-two eggs in 
eleven days each year, but these proved infertile (Heinroth, 1911). 

On the whole the Chiloe Widgeon is a very desirable bird because of its great 
ornamental value, its vivacity and good temper. It is as hardy as most ducks for 
thirty-seven specimens in the London Gardens averaged four years, the maximum 
being over fifteen years (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). They are fond of greens and are said 



to be more herbivorous than either the Carolina Duck or the Mandarin (Mont- 
lezun, 1884), but they also require some animal matter. Miss Hubbard (1907) says 
one of her specimens was found choked to death with the tail of a field mouse pro- 
truding from its bill! 

The only pair which I ever kept, lived several years but did not nest. Of course 
dealers are usually unable to pick out the sexes, so that one is extremely likely to 
receive two birds of one sex. The would-be purchaser should try to get good young 
hand-reared stock as it is much more likely to breed than wild-trapped, imported 
birds. Hand-reared birds are worth about £5 per pair in England at this time. They 
do not seem to breed until their second year but this does not necessarily hold for 
wild birds under natural conditions. 

Hybrids. Crosses between the Chiloe Widgeon and other species are rare. 
None has ever been taken in the wild so far as I know, and in captivity only the 
cross with the Brown Pintail is at all common. The offspring of this cross prove 
sterile. One case of crossing with the Mallard has been recorded (Poll, 1911), and 
Finn (1900) says it has been crossed with the European Widgeon, in the London 
Gardens. Shaw-Bailey (1918), who has repeated this experiment, says the hybrids 
from this cross are almost indistinguishable from the American Baldpate, a result 
that is of great interest to students of evolution. 


(Plate 31) 


Anas crecca Linne, Systema Naturae, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 126, 1758. 

Querquedula crecca Stephens, General ZooL, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 146, 1824. 

Nettion crecca Kaup, Natiirl. Syst., p. 95, 1829. 

Querquedula suhcrecca Brehm, Oken’s Isis, 1830, col. 998. 

Querquedula creccoides Brehm {nec King), Oken’s Isis, 1830, col. 998. 

Boschas crecca Swainson, Classification of Birds, vol. 2, p. 367, 1837. 

Anas rubens Lesson {nec Gmelin),^de Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, 
vol. 43, p. 650, 1856. 

Querquedula crecca, a. rubens Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, 
p. 650, 1856. 

Dafila crecca Stejneger, Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus., vol. 10, p. 136, 1887. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Common Teal, European Teal, Green-winged Teal. 

French: Sarcelle d’hiver, Sarcelline, Petite sarcelle, Arcanette, Trufleur, Criquet, 
Moret, Maraton, Biganon. 

German: Krickente, Kriekente, Kriechente, Krugente, Kleinente, Franzente, 
Schapsente, Spiegelente, Kreuzente, Schmielente, Halbente, Kugelente, Zwerg- 

Gaelic: Crann-lach, Crion-lach. 

Dutch: Wintertaling, Teling, Krik. 

Danish: Krikand, Kraekand, Norkand, Rodnakke, Tagand. 

Swedish: Krickand, Kricka, Kracka, Arta, Knipann, Knortann, Lortand, Lorstboll, 
Beckasinand, Hastlodand. 

Norwegian: Krikand, Lortond, Saurond, Pytand, Sirku. 

Icelandic: Urtbnd, Ort. 

Lapplandic: Ciksa. 

Finnish: Tavi, Tavallinen tavi, Likatavi, Prittisuorsa. 

Russian: Chirok, Chirsk, Gurka. 

Hungarian: Opra recze, Kisebb csdrgd kacsa. 



Croatian: Patka krzulja, 

Czech: Cirka obecna. 

Slavonian: Chrapacka mensja. 

Esihonian: Piri part, Muda part. 

Lettish: Krihklis lohshne. 

Italian: Alzavola, Garganella, Crecoleta, Germanello, Anitralla, Tersetola vernile, 
Sarsella, Mallardella. 

Sardinian: Anadone, Circuredda. 

Spanish: Cerceta hiemal, Zarzeta, Serrano, Garcetilla real, Patrico, Salcet. 
Portuguese: Marreco, Marrequinlio, Marneco. 

Arabic: Bat-kerkedj, Shershir. 

Maltese: Sarsella. 

Turkish: Kirki ordek. 

Georgian: Kokpa iehwi. 

Tartar: Geraep, Sirgei-urdak. 

Bashkirs: Tyragai. 

Ostiaks: Shigirtpiri. 

Lamut: Kuritsh. 

Hindustani: Lohya kerra, Chota murghabi, Putari, Suchuruka, 

Nepalese: Baigilagairi. 

Sindi: Kardo. 

Canarese: Sorlai-haki. 

Bengali: Naroib, Tulsia-bigri. 

Japanese: Kogamo. 

Corean: Ugalgapyl. 

Kuriles: Tuuriwe. 

Kamchatka: Peshukun. 

Alaska: Ting-a-zo-me-ok. 


Adult Male: Head and upper neck rich chestnut; an iridescent patch of green and purple extending 
back from the eye to the nape on each side. From the gape along base of culmen and over the eye a 
bufly stripe. A narrow white line separates the green eye-patch from the chestnut of the face. Chin 
black; hind neck purplish black; mantle finely vermiculated with black and white; scapulars the 
same, except the outer ones which are ornamented with longitudinal black and white stripes. Back 
and rump gray-brown; upper tail-coverts edged with buff; tail brown; lower neck finely vermicu- 
lated; breast heavily dotted with round black spots. Remainder of lower surface white except the 
flanks which are like the mantle, and the sides of the rump which have a black crescentic mark and 

Plate 31 




a buffy patch. Under tail-coverts black. Outer wing-coverts plain blue-gray, except the greater 
ones which form a conspicuous buffy anterior wing-bar. This bar may be white, and is always 
lighter externally than internally. Speculum black externally and green internally, with a narrow 
buffy posterior wing-bar. Primaries brown. Outer tertial forming a black edge to the speculum, 
the rest nearly plain brown. Under wing-coverts gray and white, axillars white. 

Iris dark brown. Bill black or nearly so. Legs and toes gray, greenish or brownish, with the webs 
nearly black. 

Wing 175-188 mm. (as long as 193 according to Hartert); bill 34-38; tarsus 29-33. 

Weight 8 to 12 ounces (0.22 to 0.34 kilograms). 

Adult Fem.\le : Brown above and cream-colored below. The edges of the feathers of the mantle and 
scapulars are lighter brown and the mantle is irregularly barred. Top of the head dark brown; 
cheeks buff, finely spotted with dark brown; chin and throat sometimes immaculate, but usually 
spotted like the cheeks. An indistinct postorbital stripe of dark brown can usually be made out. 
Breast spotted; rest of lower parts whitish, with indistinct spots or streaks. Flanks mottled; wing as 
in male but the speculum lacks the black border formed by the ornamental tertials. 

Iris same as in the male. Bill not so dark-colored. Tarsus greenish or brownish gray as in the male. 

In summer the under parts are more spotted, due to wear at the tips of the feathers. 

Wing 165-175 mm.; culmen 33-36; tarsus 28-32. 

Fem.\le in First (Juven.i.l) Plumage: Very much like the summer adult, but the lower abdomen 
is more indistinctly spotted and streaked. The mantle is inclined to be more uniform in appearance, 
and the tail-feathers are always blunt at the tips. The top of the head is usually darker, the 
feathers lacking most of their light edges, but none of these color characters appears constant 
except the abdominal spotting which easily separates the young female in August from the adult 
female in winter. It is more difficult to tell the young female from the breeding female except by 
the obvious signs of wear in the latter. 

Male in First Plumage: At first not to be distinguished from the female but by September or 
October one or two of the following characters will be present : a well-marked black internal border 
to the speculum; light-colored, wavy bars on the mantle; a few indistinctly vermiculated feathers 
on the mantle or scapulars; one or two round spots on the breast; or one or two vermiculated feathers 
on the lower flanks. The spotting of the abdomen usually vanishes by September and by November 
the young male is rapidly putting on his adult dress. The complete dress is probably seldom perfect 
before March. Millais (1902) maintains that males in first plumage may be distinguished from young 
females by the bluer gray color of the shoulder of the wing, and the brighter color of the green specu- 
lum, but this I cannot agree with. 

Male in Eclipse: I have no specimens at hand, but I suspect that European Teal in this plumage 
cannot be told from the American Green-wing with whose eclipse plumage I am familiar. 

Downy Young: In general appearance like the young of the Mallard but darker, especially on the 
top of the head and on the back. There is a dark streak through the eye, a dark ear-patch and a 
superciliary light streak. The cheeks are rather richly colored and the light spots on the body and 
wings are small. New-hatched young are of course exceedingly small. 





The Common Teal is a palsearctic species widely distributed through Europe and Asia, wintering 
also in Africa and straggling to North America. Its breeding range may be roughly described as 
lying between the 35th and 73d parallels of north latitude, and this in itself is quite 
remarkable for extent. Within this area it has been found breeding in Iceland, where it 
has been recorded many times, earlier records being summed up by the most recent writer, Hantzsch 
(1905). According to him it is not rare in Iceland and apparently has a rather wide distribution 
Faroes Miiller (1869) states that it is not uncommon in summer on the 

Faroes, and he believes that some may breed. It nests on the Shetlands (R. Gray, 









1871; Saxby, 1874) and farther south is known as a common breeder through Scotland 
(R. Gray, 1871). According to Stonham (1908) it is even increasing as a breeder in the 
Outer Hebrides. In England it nests more sparingly, becoming almost rare as a breeder 
in the southern counties (Seebohm, 1885; F. O. Morris, 1903; Millais, 1902; etc.); but 
it is apparently abundant in Wales (Stonham, 1908). It is known as a breeder in Ire- 
land, whence it has been recorded nesting in suitable localities in every county (W. Thompson, 1851; 
Ussher and Warren, 1900). 

On the Continent the species breeds in suitable places throughout Scandinavia, where it is found 
even in the mountains. Representative authorities for Norway are Collett (1873) 
and Schaanning (1913). Sommerfeldt (fide Dresser, 1871-81) has reported it from 
Varanger Fjord in the extreme north in summer. For Sweden we have the testimony 
of many writers, among them Nilsson (1858) (South Skane) and Wallengren (1854) 
(Gotland). Apparently the species is everywhere a common breeder in the Scandina- 
vian peninsula. In Finland and Lapland also, it appears to be exceedingly abundant. 
Records for Lapland include, among others, those of Nilsson (1858), Suomalainen (1912) (Lapland 
Enontekiensis, 22° east longitude, 68° 30' north latitude) and Finnila (1913) who recorded it from 
Sodankyla (68° north latitude, 28° east longitude), Malmgren (Enare-Lapland, 69°) and von Nord- 
mann (1864) (Lapland to the Arctic Sea). Pleske (1886) speaks of the species as a common breeder 
in the Kola Peninsula and adduces many authorities for the statement. In Finland it breeds every- 
where, according to Palmen (1876) as far north as Utsjoki, 69° 30', which of course includes Lapland. 
It is a very common breeder in central Finland (Suomalainen, 1908), and nests also in eastern 
Denmark Finland (Schaanning, 1907), as well as in the northern parts (Dresser, 1871-81). In 
Netherlands Denmark it has been recorded breeding by Kjarbolling (1850). Dubois (1912) states 
that it nests in Belgium and the same is true of Holland (Schlegel, 1859). It breeds in 
the greater part of France, perhaps throughout the whole of the country (Ternier 
and Masse, 1907; Paris, 1907). W. E. Clarke (1895) states that a few are said to breed in the Rhone 
Delta, and I’Hermitte (1916) says that some are resident in Provence, but I have been unable to 
find any proof of its breeding in southwestern France. Tait (1887) says he was told of its nesting at 
Angeja and near Tuey in northern Portugal, but he was unable to substantiate this statement from 
personal experience. Its breeding in southern Spain seems to be certain, for though 
Irby (1875) was not sure that the species was “resident” there, H. Noble (1902) suc- 
ceeded in finding a nest in Andalucia. A. Chapman and Buck (1910) state that it is a rare breeder, 
presumably on the marismas, while H. Saunders (1871) also says that a few breed, referring, I sup- 
pose, to Andalucia. The Teal breeds in the Azores archipelago on Flores (Godman, 
1870) and on San Miguel (Chaves, Hartert and Ogilvie-Grant, 1905). Harcourt 
(1851) says it nests in Madeira, and Thanner (Ornith. Monatsb., vol. 17, p. 31, 1909) 
has recorded its nesting on Fuerteventura in the Canaries. According to Salvadori 
(1865) and Giglioli (1889-91) a few breed in Sardinia, but Brooke (1873) says many do 
so. As far as I know, it has never been recorded breeding in Corsica. Malherbe (1843) 







Map 45. Distribution o I 

Breeding range, dotted n 

jjDpean Teal (Anas crecca) 

jiiiinter range, broken line 




9 \ 








was long ago told of nests near Syracuse and Catania in Sicily, while C. A. Wright (1864) has more 
recently recorded it as being occasionally met with in June in Malta, hence possibly breeding. 
Despott (1917) says it is fairly common at all seasons on Malta, but he makes no reference to its 
breeding. It certainly nests in various parts of Italy, and Giglioli (1889-91) quotes 
statements for its occurrence as a breeder in Calabria, Tuscany, Venice, Lombardy 
and Piedmont. Soffel (1915) says it breeds on Lago Maggiore, and according to Bailly 
(fide Dresser, 1871-81) it is “resident” in Savoy. In Switzerland it breeds throughout 
in suitable localities (Fatio, 1904), and the same is evidently true of Germany. For 
this latter country we have testimony of its nesting in Schleswig and Mecklenburg (Dahl, 1905), 
in Mecklenburg (Wiistnei, 1902), in Oldenburg (von Negelein, 1853), in the Rhine Provinces (Le 
Roi, 1906-07), at Neuwied (Brahts, 1855), Lorraine (von Besserer, 1899), in Bavaria (Jackel, 
Naumann, 1896-1905), in Saxony (Heyder, 1913), in Lusatia (Hantzsch, 1903), in Brandenburg 
(Schalow, 1915), in Pomerania (T.Holland, 1857) and in eastern Prussia (Hartert, 1892). The species 
also breeds (but only very sparingly) in the southern parts of what was formerly the Dual Monarchy. 
Fritsch (1872) says it is abundant in Bohemia in summer, and Madarasz (1884) states Austria 
that it breeds at Neusohl (Hungary). Farther south. Crown Prince Rudolf and Hungary 
Brehm (1879) have recorded its nesting near Vienna, and von Mojsisovics (1887) and Rdssler have 
reported it breeding in Slavonia. Danford and Harvie-Brown (1875) found it common everywhere 
in Transylvania in May. From the Balkans we have records of its nesting in Bosnia, 

Herzegovina, and Montenegro (Bielz, fide Naumann, 1896-1905; Reiser and von 
Fiihrer, 1896), Bulgaria, not far from Sofia (Hristovic, Reiser, 1894) and in parts of northern 
Greece (Lindermayer, 1860). Sladen (1917) speaks of it as resident and probably breeding in Mace- 
donia, and Lintia (1909) has reported its breeding in Rumania. According to Sintenis (1877) it is 
a very common breeder in the Dobrudja. It undoubtedly breeds about Constantinople, Xurkey 
for G. C. Taylor (1872) found it abundant in late May at Ismid. 

In European Russia and Poland the species seems to occur everywhere as a breeder. Representa- 
tive records are the following: according to Taczanowski (1888), very common in Poland in the 
summer, and a common breeder in the Baltic Provinces, Kurland, Esthonia and 


Livonia (Loudon, 1909) ; a few breed in Pskov (Zarudny, 1910) ; abundant in the whole 
of the Petrograd Government (Biichner, 1885); at Petrograd (Deditius, 1885; Bianchi, 1907); at 
New Ladoga (von Brandt, 1880); about Ladoga and Onega (Sievers, 1877); abundant at Archangel 
(Dresser, 1871-81; Goebel, 1869a; Seebohm, 1882a; Alston and Harvie-Brown, 1873). E. von Mid- 
dendorff (1891) has recorded its breeding at Shishgin Light on the White Sea, H. J. Pearson (1899) 
found it breeding in the Kanin Peninsula, Bianchi (1902b) has reported it for the Murman coast 
(May 18), Harvie-Bro^-n (1876) found it common north of 64° 30' between the 40th and 65th merid- 
ians of east longitude. This may be a convenient place to mention its occurrence in 
Spitzbergen, where it was found on Horn Sound in late March, 1901, by Bauendahl 
{fide Schalow, Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 50, p. 126, 1902). Bunge {fide Schalow, 1905) recorded a “teal” 
from the same place one year previous. May 16, 1900, possibly indicating a regular but limited migra- 
tion to southern Spitzbergen for breeding purposes. To return to Russia, Harvie-Brown (1877) says 
that between the 59th and 65th parallels of north latitude the species is common in summer from 
30° east longitude to the eastern boundary of Perm, being somewhat rarer between 40° and 50° east 
longitude, that is in eastern Olonetz and western Vologda. Mejakoff (1856) has recorded it from 
Vologda Government and Goebel (1873) from Novgorod, as has also Bianchi (1910). In the Urals 
it is common at Pavda, but becomes rarer in the southern districts of Perm (Harvie-Brown, 1878). 
It is a very common breeder in west-central Russia, in Moscow (Menzbier, 1883; Lorenz, 1892) and 
in Tula (Menzbier, 1883), as well as in Orel (Daniloff, 1864) and Ekaterinoslav (Valkh, 1911). Von 
Nordmann (1840) states that it is “resident” on the Black Sea, and Radde (1854) speaks of the 
species as common in summer in the Crimea. According to Moeschler (1853) it is a very common 




breeder on the lower Volga, at Sarepta, and Seebohm (1882) says the same for the steppes of Astra- 

In Asia the Common Teal seems to breed throughout the Caucasus, of course only in proper 
localities (Radde, 1884). Robson [fide Dresser, 1871-81) also states that it breeds in the interior of 
. . Asia Minor, but such statements are too vague to be of much value. I have no doubt 


that the species nests in the northern sections, and G. C. Taylor’s statement (1872) 
that it was common at Ismid in late May has already been quoted. Radde (1884), moreover, says 
the species breeds sparingly on the lakes of High Armenia and in the Karabagh Mountains. The fact 
that Tristram (1884) met with the Teal in Palestine during June lends probability to his statement 
Asia Minor that it may breed there, but the exact status of the species throughout Asia Minor 

and Persia is still so undetermined that I feel it is better to be conservative in including 
Persia records which seem very unusual, though of course not Improbable. Zarudny (1911) 

says it may breed in the Zagross district of Persia, and C. Swinhoe (1882) thinks it may breed in 
southern Afghanistan. In Transcaspia it imdoubtedly breeds, and has been recorded as nesting at 
Merv (Radde and Walter, 1889) and on the lower Tedshen (Zarudny, 1886, 1889-90). According to 
Severtzoff (Dresser, 1876) it breeds in Turkestan, excepting the sections, and Schalow 
(1908) and Hume and Marshall (1879) both state that it breeds in western Turkestan. North of the 
Caspian it breeds all over the Kirgis (Nazarow, 1887) specifically in the Middle Kirgis (Suschkin, 
1914). It is very difficult to give definite statements as to the breeding of the species in the district 
of the northwest Himalayas. Personally I am inclined to believe that this Teal does not ordinarily 
breed south of the mountains of northern Afghanistan nor east, in this particular district, of the 
western Tien-shan and Issyk-kul. The evidence at hand is Schalow’s (1908) statement that it 
probably nests in western Pamir and the Altai, the testimony of Laubmann (1913) that it breeds on 
the Naryn and on the Tekes, Severtzoff’s (1883, p. 76) remark that it probably breeds in Pamir, and 
Smallbones’s (1906) statement that it apparently breeds on the Hi River and on the Issyk-kul. 
Schalow (1908) states emphatically that the species does not breed in Yarkand, although it has been 
once or twice met with on the upper Tarim. Adams’s [fide Hume and Marshall, 1879) statement that 
the species is quite common throughout the year in Kashmir must be accepted with reserve. To 
recapitulate, the southern breeding limit of the species in this very confused region is most probably 
formed by the mountains of northern Afghanistan, the southern boundary of Pamir, the eastern 
boundary of Pamir, the western boundary of the Tarim desert, the western boundary of the Dsungari 
desert, the Altai and thence east along the northern boundary of the Mongolian deserts. As to 
whether the species breeds in the eastern Tien-shan I find no evidence which might lead to a decision 
one way or another. North of Turkestan the species seems to breed abundantly throughout western 
Siberia, becoming more common in the north. North of Lakes Balkasch and Saissan-nor, Finsch 
(1879) found it abundant on the steppe lakes between Semipalatinsk and Omsk, on the Arkat Hills 
and on the Marka-kul, as well as on the Ala-kul. From what he says the Teal seems to be common 
all along the Ob River even to its mouth, for it was found at Obdorsk in the middle of July, on the 
tundra lakes in late July, and on the Shchucha River (a tributary of the Ob joining it on the left 
below Obdorsk) in early August. Ushakov (1913) says it is as common a breeder as the Mallard, if 
not more common, in the Tobolsk Go\"ernment. Apparently it breeds even farther north, for Zitkov 
(1912) found it on the Yamal Peninsula. Passing eastward to the mouth of the Jenesei it is common 
north to about 70° (Seebohm, 1879); according to Popham (1897, 1898) and Palmen (1887) 70° 30' is 
the northern limit in this region. Information concerning the middle Jenesei is very scarce, but 
Pawlowski (fide Taczanowski, 1893) found it apparently breeding on the Wiljui River and from the 
upper Jenesei it has been recorded breeding at Minussinsk and in the Russian Altai (Suschkin, 
1913), while Radde (1863) met with the species in the eastern Sajan Mountains in May. It breeds 
south of Lake Baikal to the northern boundary of the Mongolian deserts; at the source of the Amur 
(Radde, 1863), in Dauria (Taczanowski, 1874), on the mountains of the middle Amur (Bolau, 1881; 



Radde, 1863) and on the lower Amur (von Schrenck, 1859). In eastern Asia the breeding range 
seems to run southward again so as to include the entire country between the Eastern 
Japanese Sea and the eastern boundary of the Mongolian Desert, formed by the Chin- Asia 
gani Mountains. Within this area it breeds sparingly at Lake Hanka (Prjevalski, 1878), abundantly 
in Manchuria (Baker, 1908), not in Korea, but south at least to Peking (Baker, 1908). Blackwelder 
(1907) says he has no doubt it nests in the Tsinling Mountains, south of the Ordos, and the fact that 
Prjevalski (1878) met with this Teal in late May in the Kuku-nor region (36° north latitude, 100° 
east longitude) would almost suggest that it breeds in the Nan-shan Mountains. I see no reason why 
this should not be the case, nor why the species might not breed even in northern Tibet, although 
Schalow (1908) is inclined to believe that this is not so. Its occurrence as a breeder in this region 
must still be regarded as hypothetical. In northern Siberia the species seems to reach an extreme 
limit, if we are to credit Palmen’s (1887) statement that its range extends to 73° 30' at the mouth of 
the Lena. Maak (1859) found it breeding at the junction of the Wiljui and Lena and on the Morkoka. 
Bunge (1883) met with it at Shigalowo at the mouth of the Lena, May 6. Palmen (1887) says it 
occurs on the Jana, but for some reason gives 68° as its limit in that district. Personally I believe it 
probably occurs everywhere even to the Arctic coast east of the Lena, but for lack of evidence I 
hesitate so to indicate it on the map. As in northern Europe, the species would be uncommon at best 
on the coast of the Arctic Sea. Thayer and Bangs (1914), however, state that it was found commonly 
at Nijni Kolymsk, at the mouth of the Kolyma, after June 5. Farther south it was found to be 
common as a breeder about Gichiga (J. A. Allen, 1905), at Amginsk and on the south shore of the 
Ochotsk Sea (A. von Middendorff, 1853); its breeding on Saghalin seems to me fairly 
well substantiated when we take into consideration the fact that Nikolski {fide Tac- 
zanowski, 1893) found it common there in August, while Lonnberg (1908) reports it as being met 
with in May and October, and Borissow (fide Hesse, 1915) thinks he found its eggs in May on the 
island. Baker (1908) speaks of a few breeding in northern Japan, but this can be taken 
to mean northern Yezo, and I am not certain that it breeds there. It does not nest 
on the Kuriles (Blakiston and Pryer, 1878) nor in Kamchatka (Taczanowski, 1893; Commander 
Bianchi, 1909; Stejneger, 1885). It breeds commonly on the Commander Islands, both Islands 
Bering and Miedin or Copper Isle (Stejneger, 1885; Clark, 1910a; Dybowski,^de Taczanowski, 
1893). In extreme northeastern Asia it has been recorded from the Anadyr, May 22 (Bianchi, 1908) 
and W. S. Brooks (1915) actually records a specimen taken at Indian Point, Chukoshkii Cape, on June 
6. But this becomes less remarkable when we consider that the species has been recorded from many 
of the islands in the Aleutian chain, which leads us to suppose that it imdoubtedly breeds as far east 
as the mainland of Alaska. For the Aleutians I find records of its occurrence on Attu, Kiska, Am- 
chitka, Atka, Unalaska and Semidi Isles (U.S. Biological Survey; Bent, 1912). It has also been re- 
corded from the Pribilof Islands, and may have bred there in 1914 (Hanna, 1920). Von Brandt 
(1891) quotes a record of its occurrence as far south as Sitka. According to Cooper (fide Grinnell, 
Bryant and Storer, 1918) it is found not rarely in California! Belding (quoted by California 
Grinnell) thinks it bred near Stockton, California. Both the statements seem to me 
very imlikely, and certainly require further proof. 

A remarkable breeding record is that recently published by Gadow and Gardiner (1903) according 
to whom it is resident and breeds (!) on several islands in the Maidive archipelago. Young birds 
were actually found there. The species is frequently met with in India even in summer, j^aldives 
but it has never been recorded from there as a breeder, while from the Maldives it had 
been unknown before the record above mentioned was published. There seems to be some reason 
to suppose the species may breed in the Nile Delta (Shelley, 1872), and Ogilvie-Grant (1902) 
records it from Fashoda in May! 





Winter Range 

Ordinarily the Common Teal does not winter much north of 45° and never south of the Equator, 
but like many other species it is found much farther north in western Europe than the parallel above 
indicated. A few actually winter in Iceland (Hantzsch, 1905) though I find no evidence 
Shetlands their doing so on the Faroes or the Shetlands. It is ■well known throughout the 
United Kingdom in wdnter (Dresser, 1871-81; Seebohm, 1885; R. Gray, 1871; W. Thompson, 1851; 






Ussher and Warren, 1900; etc.), and in the south of England is rare at any other season. 
On the Continent the species winters as far north as southern Norway, according to 
Collett (1871), and is found there on the coasts from Orkedalen to the Swedish border. 
Mortensen (1909) says it winters in Denmark, and in Belgium it is common in the cold 
season (Dubois, 1912). Dresser (1871-81) states that it is abundant in winter in 
France, and Paris (1907) calls it a resident, but I believe it is found only sparingly 
in the interior being most common on the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts. Backhouse (1887) 
says it is the commonest duck in winter about Perpignan, and Lilford (1875) obtained it in the market 
of Cannes, Provence, in late December. According to A. C. Smith (1868), Tait (1896) and de Seabra 
Portugal (1910), it is abundant in winter in Portugal, and the same is true of Spain. From 
Spain latter country it has been reported as occurring in large flocks at Santander, on 

the coast of the Bay of Biscay (Irby, 1883), occurring also at Lac de Lourdes in the 
Pyrenees (H. Saunders, 1884). According to Arevalo y Baca (1887) it is very abundant in Valencia, 
Andalucia and Murcia as well as in central Spain. Reyes y Prosper (1886) has recorded it for the 
Corsica Balearics, Mallorca and Minorca. It is common in winter in Corsica (Jourdain, 1912; 

J. Whitehead, 1885; Wharton, 1876) and in Sardinia (Salvadori, 1865; Giglioli, 
1889-91) while in Italy the species is met with in winter from Savoy (Bailey, fide 
Dresser, 1871-81) southward through Lombardy, Venice, Liguria, Tuscany, the Marches, Apulia, 
Calabria and Sicily (Giglioli, 1889-91). C. A. Wright (1864) met with it in November and March in 
Malta, and Despott (1917) says it is especially common there in winter. Fatio (1904) 
says the Teal winters in various parts of Switzerland, and according to Naumann 
(1896-1905) it has been known to winter in about all the western and southern States 
of Germany, as well as in Silesia. In what was formerly the Dual Monarchy it seems 
that a few w’inter occasionally in Bohemia and upper Austria (Naumann, 1896-1905), 
in Hungary (Madarasz, 1884) and in the Tyrol (Althammer, 1857), being more com- 
mon in the last place and becoming even more so in Dalmatia (Kolombatovic, 1903), 
Montenegro (Naumann, 1896-1905) and Albania (Lodge, 1909). So also the birds 
appear to winter abundantly throughout the Balkans, in Bulgaria (Reiser, 1894) and all along the 
low'er Danube and in Bessarabia (Radakoff, 1881) as well as in Macedonia (Elwes and Buckley, 
1870), in the Ionian Isles (Lilford, 1875) and in Greece (Powys, 1860; von der Miihle, 1844). Accord- 
ing to an old statement of von Nordmann (1840), it winters on the Russian coast of the 
Black Sea also, and this does not seem at all improbable. The species winters abun- 
dantly in Asia Minor (Robson, Dresser, 1871-81), being found specifically about 
the Bosphorus (Braun, 1908), at Smyrna (Strickland, 1836), at Sardis (Flora Russell, 
1912), in the mountains of Cilicia and in the Taurus (Danford, 1878, 1880), on Cyprus 
(Lilford, 1889; Bucknill, 1911) and in Mesopotamia, at Ras el Ain (Neumann, 1915), and along the 
lower Euphrates (Meinertzhagen, 1914). Evidently it is exceedingly common even far inland. 
Tristram (1884) and Meinertzhagen (1920) met with the species in Palestine and Hart (1891) and 
Arabia Wyatt (fide Hart, 1891) both found it on the Sinai Peninsula. In Arabia it has been 

found at Aden by both Yerbury (1886) and Barnes (1893), and I have little doubt that 
Persia sparingly along the entire Red Sea coast of Arabia. The British Museum 

possesses specimens from Socotra. In Persia and neighboring districts it winters in 







Asia Minor 




the Caucasus (Radde, 1884) and on the southwestern Caspian (Radde, 1884). According to Zarudny, 
(1911) it winters on the south Caspian, and Stolzmann (1893) found it in winter at Askhabad, 
Transcaspia. It appears to winter more rarely in northern than in southern Persia, as in southern 
Chorassan and the Parapamis (Zarudny, 1911), Badghis (Sharpe, 1891), northern Afghanistan 
(Scully, 1876) and Samarkand (Carruthers, 1910), and more abundantly in Mesopotamia and south- 
western Persia (Witherby, 1903), Baltistan (Richmond, 1896), southern Afghanistan (C. Swinhoe, 
1882), Baluchistan (Meinertzhagen, 1920), Seistan, Kuhistan and Kirman, and northern and 
southern Baluchistan (Zarudny, 1911; Baker, 1919). Farther east the species winters on the 
Indian border at Kohat and Kurram (C. H. T. Whitehead, 1909) and sparingly also at Gilgit, 
Kashmir (Scully, 1881). In the region of the northwestern Himalayas it winters eastward as far as 
Kashgaria (Schalow, 1908; Scully, 1876) and Yarkand (Scully, 1876). In India it 
appears to be abundant everywhere from Sind and the Punjab east to Bengal and 
Assam, and from the Himalayas south to Ceylon and the Maidive Archipelago (Hume and Marshall, 
1879; Baker, 1908; Legge, 1880; Gadow and Gardiner, 1903). It is found in Upper Burma and in 
northern Siam (Hume and Marshall, 1879) in the South Shan States (Rippon, 1901), in Arakan 
(Blyth, 1867; Hopwood, 1912) and rarely in Tenasserim and Pegu (E. W. Oates, 1883). Kloss (1903) 
has recorded it for the Andamans and Nicobars, and the British Museum possesses a specimen from 
the Straits. Considering that the Teal has been found several times in North Celebes (Meyer and 
Wiglesworth, 1898) and also in the Philippines (R. C. McGregor, 1909; J. Whitehead, 1899), I think 
it not improbable that it may winter in suitable places throughout the Malay Peninsula and on some 
of the western islands of the East Indies. In Yunnan, H. R. Davies (1909) found it one of the com- 
monest ducks and in western Yunnan it is described as abundant by Menegaux and Didier (1913). 
In China proper, the Teal is a common bird in winter, and has been variously reported 
from that coxmtry by R. Swinhoe (1860, 1863a, 1875) (Hainan, Formosa, Hong-kong, 

Amoy, Foochow, Chefoo, Peking); by La Touche (1892) (Swatow, Foochow, Chin-kiang); by Styan 
(1891) (lower Yangtse); by R. Slater (1882) (Hankow); by Seebohm (1884) (Kiu-kiang); by Klein- 
schmidt (1913) (Kiauchow); by H. A. Walton (1903) (Peking); by David and Oustalet (1877) (Pe- 
king); by Thayer and Bangs (1912) (Hupeh and Szechwan); by E. H. Wilson (1913) and La Touche 
(1922) (Kiating); by Berezowski and Bianchi (1891) (Kan-su); by Sowerby (1912) (Shensi and 
Kan-su) ; and by Prjevalski (1878) (Tsaidam, Mongolia and Kuku-nor). Kalinowski {fide Taczanow- 
ski, 1893) says it winters in Korea; and in Japan it is abundant throughout according 
to Ogawa (1908) (Tanegashima and Ishigakishima, Loo-choo group), Blakiston and 
Pryer (1878) (southern Japan), M’Vean (1878) (Tokio), Whitely (1867) (Yezo). Von Ditmar 
(1900) states that it winters in Kamchatka, but I find no evidence to substantiate this rather strik- 
ing statement. As remarked above, the species has been found in northern Celebes in winter, and 
some stay there all summer (Meyer and Wiglesworth, 1897) while in the Philippines it is not 
imcommon in Luzon (J. Whitehead, 1899) and has been taken also on Calayan (R. C. McGregor, 
1909) and Mindoro (?) (Platen, R. C. McGregor, 1909). 

In Africa the species winters abundantly in Egypt and Nubia (Shelley, 1872; A. L. Adams, 1864) 
and according to von Heuglin (1873) it is found on the Red Sea, the Somali coast, and on the Nile in 
Kordofan and at the Sobat Delta. Peel (1900) also records it from Berbera Harbor, Somaliland, 
while Balfour (British Museum) and Bennett (ibid.) met with it on Socotra Island, 

As many as fomteen have been seen there at one time (P. L. Sclater and Hartlaub, 

1881). Jagerskiold (1904) reports it common on the White Nile from Omdurman to Dueim and 
Hartmann {fide Naumann, 1896-1905) found it on the Blue Nile as late as May! Von Heuglin 
(1873) some time ago reported it from Lake Tana, Abyssinia, and since then it has been reported 
as common in southern Abyssinia (Ogilvie-Grant, 1900), and also from Lake Cialalaka (Antinori 
and Ragazzi, Salvador!, 1884, 1888). In northwestern Africa it is apparently common in Tunis 
(Whitaker, 1905; Talamon, 1904; Millet-Horsin, 1912) and in Algeria (Loche, 1867; Rothschild 



and Hartert, 1912; Buvry, 1857; J. H. Gurney, 1871; Menegaux, 1919) while in the Sahara it has 
been found in the north (Tristram, 1860) and even south to El Golea and Ouargla (Hartert, 1913). 
It is recorded “on passage” at this latter place, and this almost suggests that some of the birds 
may cross the desert to Sokoto, northern Nigeria, where the species has been found in flocks num- 
bering hundreds in November, January and February (Hartert, 1886). Rochebrune (1883-85) 
recorded it as common in Senegambia and recently the statement of this usually unreliable writer 
was reaflBrmed by Hopkinson (1918) who says the Teal breeds (!) in Gambia and appears to Ije 
a regular migrant there. In Tangiers and Morocco the species is also abundant in winter (Favier, 
Canaries Dresser, 1871-81; Carstensen, 1852; Reid, 1885; Drake, 1867). Off the West 

African coast, Cabrera y Diaz (1893-94) and Bolle (1857) have reported it as common 
in the Canaries, and Bannerman (1919) says it is found in all the islands of the group in win- 
ter. Salvadori (1901) has recorded a specimen taken as far south as Boa Vista, Cape Verde 
archipelago, February 8, 1898. 

Pass.\ge Area 

As in the case of other species there is an area in both Europe and Asia in which the bird is known 
chiefly on passage. In Europe this area of passage is not so clearly defined for this species but it 
seems to include northern France and Belgium (Longchamps, Dresser, 1871-81; Dubois, 1912; 
Paris, 1907), Switzerland (Fatio, 1904), Lorraine (d’llamonville, 1895), northern Italy (Giglioli, 
1889-91), Slavonia (von Schweppenburg, 1915), Hungary (Madarasz, 1884; von Buda, 1906), the 
countries of the lower Danube (Radakoff, 1879) and southwestern Russia (Goebel, 1871). In Asia 
the passage area is much like that for other species, and is conditioned chiefly by the presence of 
enormous deserts in the central part. The species seems to occur chiefly on passage in northern 
Persia and northern Afghanistan, for example, in north and south Chorassan, Parajjamis and 
Kuhistan-Kirman (Zarudny, 1911), in Transcaspia at Merv and on the Murghab and Tedschen 
(Radde and Walter, 1889; Zarudny, 1886, 1889-90), at Samarkand (Carruthers, 1910), at Kohat 
and Kurram (C. H. T. Whitehead, 1909), at Gilgit, Kashmir (Biddulph, 1881; Scully, 1881), in 
Chamba (C. H. T. Marshall, 1884), all ov'er Turkestan (Dresser, 1876), in Kashgaria (Koslow, 1899), 
Yarkand (Henderson and Hume, 1873) and on the upper Tarim (Schalow', 1908) as well as in south- 
ern Tibet (H. J. Walton, 1906), northern Tibet (Koslow, 1899; Schalow, 1908) and the eastern Altai 
(Hesse, 1913). Prjevalski’s discoveries (Deditius, 1886) in central Asia are of utmost importance. 
He found the species on migration in great numbers on Lob-nor, on the Kuku-nor and on the Urangu 
River (47° north latitude, 88° east longitude). It occurs chiefly on passage in northern China, at 
Peking (David and Oustalet, 1877), in Manchuria (Bianchi, 1902) and in Korea (C. W. Campbell, 
1892), while farther north the same is true of Transbaikalia (Taczanowski, 1874), Lake Hanka 
(Prjevalski, 1876) and the Suiffun and Ussuri Rivers (Dorries, 1888). 

Sporadic Records 

Concerning the occurrence of this Teal in Greenland I am unable to say much. It was not cer- 
tainly known to occur there until Winge published his paper in 1899. There are evidently three 
Greenland it® occurrence on the east coast (Helms, 1910), all from the vicinity of 

Angmagsalik, it seems. There are also two specimens in the Schibler collection 
(Schioler, 1912). Specimens taken on the west coast are very probably all American Green-winged 
Teal {Anas carolinensis). It is a casual visitor to Spitzbergen and Bear Island (Jourdain, 1922) but 
probably, as mentioned above, does not breed there. The European Teal has occurred 
in Labrador, on Hamilton Inlet, July 23, 1860 (Coues, 1861), and there appears to be a 
second specimen wdthout locality (C. W. Townsend and Allen, 1907). It is very rare in Nova Scotia 
United (Doums, 1888), there being only two specimens recorded (Piers, 1915), and on the 

States Atlantic coast of the United States there are authentic records for the following States: 




Maine, two (Brock, 1907; Norton, 1911); Massachusetts, three (Forbush, 1912); Connecticut, one 
(Treat, 1891); New York, several (Eaton, 1910); New Jersey, one (W. Stone, 1909); Maryland, one 
(Kirkwood, 1895); Virginia, one (Rives, 1890), besides a few other scattered records. The references 
to its occurrence in California seem to require substantiation (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918). 


Thanks to the efforts of Mortensen (1909) and also of Thienemann (1915), we have a few results 
derived from experiments with marked birds of this species. The former marked one hundred and 
two of these birds at Fano, Denmark, in October, 1907, and from twenty-two which were reported 
within the next year or so, it appeared that some flew to Ireland, some to southwestern England, two 
to Holland, one to southern Spain, and one to northern Italy. The significant fact is that most of the 
birds evidently pass along the Atlantic coast in going south. One of Thienemann’s specimens went 
from Schleswig-Holstein, southwest also, to the mouth of the Ome in Normandy. His second record 
is far more interesting, for the bird, after being marked near Petrograd, Russia, in late June, 1912, 
was taken in late October, 1913, on the Danube in southern Hungary; that is, it flew south-south- 
west, apparently following river courses. Thomson (1921) mentions a Teal banded as a duckling in 
Inverness-shire, England, May 29, 1912, that was recaptured in County Waterford, Ireland, Febru- 
ary 5, 1914. The results with marked birds are still too meager to be of much real value, but they are 
at least suggestive. Others banded in England show an interchange with Sweden, Norway and 
Ireland while some marked as adults in Holland have been shot in England and northern France 
(Witherby, 1922; Thomson, 1921, 1923; van Oort, 1912, 1913). 

To sum up, we can now say tentatively that British-bred Teal are far less local than British- 
bred Mallards. Particularly interesting is a case which shows that a Teal reared in England does 
not necessarily return to the same region to breed, for one reared in Cumberland was recovered 
two years later in southern Norway. There are other cases (four Mallards, a Tufted Duck and two 
Sheld Ducks) which were hatched in Great Britain and were later found either nesting or summer- 
ing as adults in Scandinavia, northern Germany or northern Finland ! This has resulted in suggest- 
ing a new term, “abmigration,” to cover cases where the individual does not apparently migrate 
south in the autumn but makes a northern journey to new nesting grounds in the following 
spring (Thomson, 1923). It is, however, difficult to find out where such individuals have really 
spent the winter and whether they have actually “skipped” a southern migration. 

Concerning the dates of migration of the Common Teal I do not believe much need be said. The 
birds usually start north in early March, or possibly late February, reaching central Europe in late 
March or early April and northern Europe in May or even June (Lapland). From data at hand it 
seems that as the migration period progresses the birds linger more and more so that it takes them 
perhaps twice as long to complete the second as it does the first half of their journey north. This fact 
has led many observers to suppose the species breeds in sections where it winters, simply because the 
birds were seen as late as May on some occasions. These remarks apply to Asia as well as to Europe, 
and much the same is true as regards dates. Prjevalski’s very valuable data (Deditius, 1886) of 
migration on the Lob-nor in central Asia show that these Teal arrive on their way north as early as 
late February, and that they pass on in March. According to this observer they always come from 
the southwest, never from due south; and he adds that they always pass from northeast to southwest 
in autumn. This means that they probably do not cross the cold deserts of high Tibet in any con- 
siderable numbers, but that those which winter in Persia, Afghanistan, etc., very likely pass north- 
east through Kashmir and follow the Altin-tagh and Nan-shan Mountains to eastern China and 
Manchuria, while those which winter in eastern and southern India, Burma, etc., very probably come 
north via Yunnan and western China. As regards dates I know of nothing remarkable or note- 
worthy. As in Europe, so in southern Persia, Afghanistan and India some birds linger until May or 



even June, and none arri%'es in extreme northern or northeastern Asia much before early June. Con- 
cerning the autumn migration both in Europe and in Asia, I wnll only say that it is slightly later than 
that of some other common fresh-water ducks. The birds apparently do not leave central Europe 
until the second half of October, excepting in small numbers, and arrive in southern Europe in late 
October, November or even December. Similar conditions exist in Asia, only there the seasons are 
more sharply defined. 


Haunts. The Common Teal is in every respect a true shoal -water duck; indeed, it 
must be regarded as very closely related to the Mallard and very far removed from 
the other so-called “Teal” with which it is placed’by systematists. Structurally it is 
certainly a member of the genus Anas and in general habits, voice, display, nesting 
and feeding activities, it is very Mallard-like. 

The nature of the country it inhabits is essentially the same as that chosen by the 
Mallard, but it prefers shallower feeding grounds and boggy places and is satisfied 
with even smaller pools of water. It is also more strictly confined to fresh water, but 
in winter it will resort to the sea when the inland feeding grounds freeze up, or when 
it is persistently persecuted. During migration many resort to salt-marshes, just 
as our Teal do. Teal are perhaps more apt to gather in large numbers on mud than 
Mallards, and like to rest through the day on banks and mud-flats. 

In the breeding season they show more tendency to seek higher elevations than 
the Mallard does. Instances have been recorded of their doing this in Saxony 
(Heyder, 1913), Iceland (Hantzsch, 1905), Caucasus (Radde, 1884), Yarkand, 15,000 
to 16,000 feet (G. Henderson and Hume, 1873), western Tibet, 15,200 feet (H. J. 
Walton, 1906; Parrot, 1909). In the winter, under the tropical conditions of the 
Philippines, it has been found at elevations of 5000 feet (J. Whitehead, 1899). 

Wariness. In most groups of birds the smaller species are tamer and more con- 
fiding than the larger ones. The Teal is a good example of this, and ev'en in western 
Europe, where other species are extremely shy, it is still comparatively easy to 
approach and is generally regarded as the least wary of the ducks. During the rare 
times when they assemble in great numbers on the coastal estuaries of the British 
Isles they are much more easily approached by punt-gunners than are the Mallard 
or the Widgeon. But they are said by at least one writer (Cordeaux, 1896) to be 
much wilder in the night than in the daytime, which may be due to their nocturnal 
habits. In walking up ducks at night he found the Teal taking alarm even before 
the Mallards. 

These birds are little annoyed by civilization and are much more likely to be 
found near settlements or highways than other ducks are. Their natural disposition 
is well shown by their behavior in parts of India, where they were at one time 
practically immune, and could be found on village ponds, sometimes not even rising 



after a shot had been fired among them (Hume and Marshall, 1879). Another trait 
that is rather characteristic is their habit of returning to the place where some of 
their number have been killed or of coming back and circling overhead when they 
have been driven up from a favorite haunt. 

Daily Movements. Teal are probably even less active during the day than 
Mallard. Even where not disturbed they are more or less nocturnal, or at least 
crepuscular in their habits. Not only are they inactive by day but they are also 
extremely silent, and as Millais (1902) notes, they will “sit for hours motionless, 
apparently lost in a brown study* or with the head buried in the scapulars.” All 
ducks, or at least all the common northern surface-feeders become more nocturnal 
as winter approaches. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. On land it prefers to run about on mud-flats or 
places covered with an inch or two of water or hunt food close along a bank or ditch. 
It holds its body horizontally, as does the Mallard, but it cannot run or walk with 
anything approaching the speed of the latter. On the water it has the appearance of 
floating lightly and somewhat higher than the larger ducks, but its progress on the 
water is slow compared to the larger species. Even when wounded it is loath to dive, 
and prefers to escape by hiding among reeds and other vegetation. Only the young 
are expert in diving in the presence of danger. 

On the water adult males can be distinguished from the American Green-wing by 
the absence of the white bar on the side of the breast and the presence of the white 
outer scapulars which are very prominent at long ranges. These ornamental scapu- 
lars are not assumed until full maturity. Females of the two species are indistin- 
guishable in the field and cannot certainly be told apart in the hand (see under 
American Green-wing). 

Flight. The flight of Teal is very characteristic and interesting to watch. They 
are far more erratic than larger ducks and when traveling short distances seldom hold 
long to one course. The flock continually darts this way and that, first turning the 
upper side, then flashing the light-colored under parts so that they appear like a 
company of plovers. A flock of Teal at a distance may easily be taken for a flight 
of wading-birds. Then, too, they almost always fly much lower than Mallard, and 
like to hug the surface of the water. 

They rise abruptly from either land or water and once in the air the wings cause a 
slight swishing, but not a loud whistling noise. Almost all sportsmen are deceived by 
the apparent speed of their flight, and older observers estimated this at from 90 to as 
high as 140 miles per hour. Even the lowest of these estimates is probably far higher 
than that ever attained by any duck. Flocks of Teal often include individuals of 



the Mallard, Pintail or Shoveller and these never seem to have any difficulty in 
holding the pace. A single Teal timed by Meinertzhagen (1921) over a fixed course 
in southern Palestine, made only 44 miles per hour, which is less than the average 
for other ducks timed. Shovellers and even Spot-bills have been noted as leading 
Teal in flight (Finn, 1915). Teal fly in thick packs on short flights, and string out 
into long single or double lines when on migration. Flocks ordinarily number from 
thirty to forty individuals, but flocks of a hundred are not uncommon, and much 
greater companies are sometimes formed by the temporary union of a number of 

Association with other Species. Teal, particularly when in small parties, 
have no objection to associating closely with the larger surface-feeding ducks. 
Single individuals of Mallard, Pintail, etc., are very often seen flying with a flock of 
Teal. The evidence of their mixing with the Garganey is somewhat conflicting. 
Judging from the relation of the American Green-wing and Blue-wing I should not 
be surprised if they mix almost indiscriminately on the autumn migration and on 
the winter grounds. Among the larger ducks their preference is probably for the 
Mallard, due no doubt to similarity in feeding habits. 

A Teal’s nest with two Mallard’s eggs has been reported (Kriiper, 1857), but I 
have not found any evidence of Teal depositing their eggs in the nests of other 
species. In England a nest containing both Teal and Pheasant eggs was once found 
(C. E. Pearson, 1908). 

Voice. Teal are at most times of the year very silent but in the spring, during 
display, a soft single or double whistle sounding like preep or preep-preep is often 
heard. This is perhaps analogous to the whistled display-note of the Mallard. Dur- 
ing autumn and winter the males are much more silent, and if the note of the Euro- 
pean Teal is the same as that of our American Green-wing (which I assume to be 
the case), there is a grating, squeaking, snipelike call, rather different from the 
spring whistle. It has been likened to the creaking of an old Irish car wanting grease 
(W. Thompson, 1851). These notes sound quite differently at various distances and 
they have given rise to much confusion as to the calls of the two sexes. The female 
has an entirely duck-like, but weak and high-sounding quack which is also used as 
an alarm note. The quacking note is at times run together into a quegquegqueg, 
characteristic of many ducks. Both sexes will make a hissing note like that of most 
ducks when approached closely. A very peculiar sound is described by Saxby (1874) 
who heard a female Teal before being driven from her nest utter a note resembling 
the low continued croaking of a frog; she kept this up for perhaps half a minute 
before flying away. 

The trachea, as figured by Eyton (1838) and Yarrell (1884-85) is merely a minia- 



ture reproduction of that of the Mallard. The dilatation is .left-sided and about the 
size of a large pea. 

Food. The diet of Teal consists more of the seeds of pond-weeds and sedges 
than of their leaves or stalks. They are chiefly vegetarian, but at times take a con- 
siderable amount of animal food : snails, worms, slugs and insect larvse. Of the seeds 
of various aquatic plants which have been found by Naumann (1896-1905), W. 
Thompson (1851), Cordeaux (1896), Kelso (1913), the following may be mentioned: 
Panicum glaucum and viride (meadow-grasses) ; Potamogeton marinus and pectinatus 
(pond-weeds) ; Glyceria fluitans (manna-grass) ; Carex muricata (sedge) ; Polygonum 
sapathifolium, persicaria and hydropiper (smart-weeds); Scirpus lacustris, palustris 
and maritimus (rushes) ; Zostera marina (eel-grass). When food is plentiful in autumn 
and winter they rarely visit the grain-fields, but in spring they are found more com- 
monly than any duck except the Mallard, feeding on old grain in the stubble fields 
(Dresser, 1871-81; Naumann, 1896-1905). In India they feed to some extent on 
the wild rice (Hume and Marshall, 1879). 

Courtship and Nesting. The display of the Teal is a most beautiful perfor- 
mance, very suggestive of that of the Mallard, but not quite so elaborate. It was 
first described by MiUais (1902), then by Rogeron (1903), Heinroth (1911) and 
Wormald (1914). Several males are commonly seen in action at the same moment. 
The tail is erected, the neck arched, and the body raised almost perpendicularly in 
the water, all at the same instant. Then the bill is dipped to the surface of the water 
and passed rapidly up the breast. This whole exhibition, which takes so long to 
describe, is in reality made with such surprising speed that it is by no means easy to 
obtain a clear impression of it. The low, clear, double whistle of the male is uttered 
the moment the bill is passed down the chest. Wormald’s “position number 5 ” (in 
which the Mallard stretches the head out flat on the water) is not seen in the Teal 
except after the mating act. Pursuit flights, after the breeding grounds are reached, 
undoubtedly take place as in our American Teal. This was first suggested by 
Naumann many years ago but apparently has never been fully described for this 

The time of nesting is of course very irregular, depending on latitude, altitude and 
the conditions of the particular season, so that a series of dates can mean very little. 
Teal nest somewhat later than Mallard, but rather earlier than Gadwall or Widgeon. 
In the British Isles, May is the usual month, but a few nest as early as late April 
or as late as early June. In Iceland the breeding period usually falls in late May 
and early Jime (Hantzsch, 1905), and in northern Europe it extends into middle 
or late June. In northwestern Finland clutches are complete about mid-June 
(Montell, 1917), and there are late dates for July. On the middle Ob, young in down 



were taken on July 7 (Finsch, 1879), and on the Jenesei the last nest was taken 
July 15 (Seebohm, 1879), while on the Wiljui young were taken as early as June 
22 (Maak, 1859). On the Commander Islands the nesting season is, as we should 
expect, earlier, beginning early in Jime (Bianchi, 1909). Bent (1912) took fresh 
eggs in the Aleutians on June 7. 

The nest is by no means always on the banks of ponds, streams or marshes, but 
may be just as often found a good distance back on high ground among heather or 
in wooded situations. It is well constructed, uniform in size, measuring about 24 cm. 
outside and 13 cm. inside diameter (Hantzsch, 1905). The nest-down is darker 
than that of the Garganey and is more characteristic than in many other ducks. 
It has no white tips (but sometimes light-brown tips are indicated) and may be 
described as blackish sepia or light brown, with large conspicuous white bases 
(H. Noble, 1908; A. C. Jackson, 1918; Wormald, in litt.). 

The full clutch varies in number from seven to fifteen, but eight to eleven are the 
usual numbers found, nine perhaps being the average. The eggs are slightly smaller 
than those of the Garganey, and in color are light yellow, sometimes brownish, and 
as a rule with a characteristic greenish tinge. The average measurements of one 
hundred eggs were 44.65 by 32.68 mm., the maximum length and breadth being 
respectively 49.5 and 35.2, the minimum 41 and 31.2 mm. (Hartert, 1920). 

The incubation period is about twenty-one days but has been variously given as 
from nineteen to twenty-four. Observations made by Hantzsch (1905) in Iceland 
showed that the female sat twenty days from the time the last egg was laid, but 
spasmodic sitting of an hour or two had taken place before this. This would make 
the true period about twenty-one days, for ducks usually begin to sit from one to 
two days before the last egg is deposited. Mr. Wormald’s records of eggs hatched 
under artificial conditions suggest an even shorter time, namely, nineteen to twenty 

The behavior of the male during and after the incubation period has not been 
adequately studied, but it seems to differ somewhat from that of the Mallard. The 
mated pairs appear much attached and polygamous tendencies are perhaps less 
common than with other migrant ducks. Millais (1902) remarks that after the end 
of April one never sees among Teal the tertium quid arrangement so common with 
other ducks. Most males desert the females and begin to flock together toward the 
end of the incubation period, but there are so many cases of males being seen close 
to the nest or even in company with the female and young that one must conclude 
that the male is at times quite domestic in his habits. Millais (1902) mentions an 
instance of a male accompanying the brood, and in Iceland Hantzsch (1905) says 
he has seen the same thing. Older writers (Faber, Dresser, etc.) have also referred to 
this trait so that it cannot be considered merely as an exceptional occurrence. The 
instinct of protection is very strongly developed in the female, and more or less 


pathetic and emotional accounts of her devotion to the young fill the pages of orni- 
thological literature. 

Status. There cannot be any doubt of the general decrease of Teal in western 
Europe, following the decline in the number of Mallard, Widgeon, etc., after about 
1760. The old English decoy records place it as second in abundance, being exceeded 
only by the Mallard, though in certain places it was exceeded by the Widgeon. In 
the Ashby Decoy (Lincoln), of the 96,000 ducks taken between 1833 and 1868 
there were 44,568 Teal as against 48,664 Mallard. In the Steeple Decoy (Essex), 
in the early eighteenth century, the Teal were next to Mallard but were outnum- 
bered 30 to 1 by the Widgeon. In the Hale Decoy (Lancaster), the Teal were second 
to the Mallard in the years 1812 to 1825, but since 1875 the Teal have greatly in- 
creased and have far outnumbered the Mallard; from 1875 to 1885, Teal numbered 
4327 as against 1361 Mallard, and from 1900 to 1917 the proportion changed still 
more (6545 Teal to 820 Mallard). In the Orielton Decoy, from 1877 to 1885 the Teal 
were second in abundance to the Widgeon and far outnumbered the Mallard; and 
from 1905 to 1918 the situation continued the same, 3749 being taken in those years. 
In the Iken Decoy (Suffolk), Teal predominated in the years 1878 to 1885, number- 
ing 5902 in a total of 12,683 ducks. On the island of Fdhr (North Sea) in the year 
1877 there were 33,000 Teal taken in a total of 35,490 ducks; on Sylt, 2374 Teal in a 
total of 4194; but on Amrum, where the Pintail was in a majority. Teal numbered 
only 250 in a total of 11,800. Figures for 1880 show no change in the situation on 
these islands. The large proportion of Teal taken in these decoys is due to the tame- 
ness of the birds, and they would certainly have become greatly reduced had it not 
been for the consistent conservation of game on the larger estates. From 1830 to 
1850, W. Thompson (1851) noted a tremendous decrease in Belfast Bay, due perhaps 
to the local increase of commerce. 

For the rest of the range the information is very meager. In southeastern Hun- 
gary it was noted to have decreased markedly on migration in the years previous to 
1906 (von Buda, 1906). Shelley (1872) considered it the most abundant water-fowl 
in Egypt and Nubia; and in India it is probably the commonest winter visitor 
(Hume and Marshall, 1879; C. H. T. Whitehead, 1909). In Kamchatka it is second 
only to the Pintail in abundance (Stejneger, 1885). 

Enemies. Teal are more frequently hunted by predatory birds than are the 
larger ducks. Smaller hawks of the peregrine type attack them. Eggs and young 
are exposed to the usual enemies of water-fowl: crows, magpies, ravens, stoats, 
weasels, foxes, pike, etc. Millais (1902) has something interesting to say about in- 
dividual Brown-headed Gulls which had taken a special liking to young Teal in 
down. Careful investigation of this destruction at Murthly Moss, Scotland, showed 



that the offense was not general, but was traceable to certain definite individuals. 
When the guilty birds were killed theTeal population remained immune. In northern 
China and also near Hong-kong the Peregrine Falcon is said to feed almost exclusively 
on Teal (Vaughan and Jones, 1913). 

The insect parasites found in the feathers as well as the intestinal parasites are 
listed by Naumann (1896-1905). 

Damage. No damage to agriculture has been noted. 

Food Value. In Europe Teal are usually reckoned the best of the shoal-water 
ducks, though some prefer the Mallard. Like all ducks they are best in the late 
autumn, but this species never becomes strong or fishy in taste. In India they are so 
highly esteemed for the table that in the old days some of the epicures used to pen 
up several hundred Teal in the spring in what Hume and Marshall (1879) call a 
“tealery.” They go on to give exact instructions for the construction of a teal- 
paddock. The birds were consumed in the hot summer months, when they made a 
delicious and appetizing meal, and apparently they were more easily kept in con- 
dition in these enclosures than other ducks. 

John Ray in 1678 wrote: “This bird for the delicate taste of its flesh, and the 
wholesome nourishment it affords the body, doth deservedly challenge the first place 
among those of its kind” (Willughby and Ray, 1678). 

Hunt. On the coasts of the British Isles, Teal are hunted with punt-guns, large 
shots being sometimes made. W. Thompson (1851) speaks of fifty taken at one 
shot and thirty-two at another in the winter of 1837-38. The British record seems 
to be 106 killed at one shot on the River Shannon in 1879 (Encyclopedia of Sport, 
1897-98, Punt Shooting). In France they are easily decoyed to the “huts,” and 
Ternier and Masse (1907) speak of killing thirty during a morning flight. Many 
more than a hundred have been killed in one day by one gun flight shooting, but 
the largest number seems to have been reached by Lord Lewisham who at Laughton 
on October 6, 1913, shot 186 to his own gun (Gladstone, 1922). 

Wing-shooting at Teal is more difficult than at any other duck, on account of the 
disconcerting nature of their flight. But when they come in large bunches a success- 
ful shot can sometimes be made by a not over skilful sportsman. A single Teal flying 
close to the ground or water is one of the most difficult of all shots. As already 
remarked Teal were the mainstay of the old decoys, but these contrivances have 
mostly disappeared in recent times. In the fourteenth century Teal could be pur- 
chased for two pence eaeh, while at the same time the Mallard sold for five pence. 
During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they were sometimes reckoned as 
“half-ducks,” and three were often taken as the equivalent of one Mallard. 



They seem to be one of the easiest species to take in trap- or clap-nets, a primitive 
method still in use in India, China and even Holland. Hume and Marshall (1879) 
say that in their day live Teal could be bought from native netters at small stations 
for from two to eight rupees per hundred ! Even in recent times it has appeared in 
large numbers in some European markets, shipped from China. 

Behavior in Captivity. Teal are among the most attractive of ducks for small 
pools of water. They have the advantage of not injuring or tearing up the grass, 
but they have the disadvantage of remaining wild and retiring unless one has the 
luck to get a nice stock of hand-reared birds. When captured wild and pinioned they 
unfortunately very seldom breed. I have found them poorly adapted to stand the 
long cold and dry winters of New England. During our winters their feet often 
become dry, shriveled and completely useless, and the birds seem unable to hold 
their weight. Our Blue-winged Teal is of course even more delicate. But in the 
London Gardens, where the climate is more suitable and they can be kept out of 
doors most of the year, European Teal have always done well. There the average 
length of life of 43 specimens was over four years, the maximum being about thirteen 
years (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). Schmidt (1878) says he had specimens live 6, 7, 8 and 
41 years. This last record is certainly open to question (perhaps 14 is meant) for I 
doubt whether the smaller ducks live nearly so long as the large ones. The maximum 
age attained by specimens in the Cairo Gardens was 5 years 1 month (Flower, 1910). 

Teal have probably been kept in European collections ever since the Middle Ages. 
The Prince of Conde had them at Chantilly in 1663 (Loisel, 1912). The London 
Gardens have possessed them since their earliest days, and it is quite remarkable 
that they should have bred there no less than thirteen times between the years 
1830 and 1880 (P. L. Sclater, 1880). They have also bred in apparently very unsuit- 
able surroundings in St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin (Millais, 1902). This has proved a 
rather difficult bird to breed on private estates. “Pinioned birds have once or twice 
but very seldom nested and reared young,” so Earl Grey of Falloden writes me. 
“This species is very shy and most difficult to tame. Wild birds have occasionally 
become quite tame but have not stayed through the breeding season, except when a 
wild drake has paired with a pinioned duck.” From this it may be seen that the 
innate degree of wildness or tameness of a species is no criterion of its behavior in 
captivity. Among English fanciers the species has been bred by Mr. Wormald (in 
litt.) and Sir Douglas Brooke (Millais, 1902) but the only method that has proved at 
all successful was the one originated by Sir Richard Graham at Netherby. He pur- 
chased forty or fifty pairs each season and pulled the stubs of the primaries at a time 
which enabled them to regain their flight toward the end of the breeding season. 
These birds then stayed in the vicinity and bred freely. After a number of years, he, 
in 1908, captured some 1100 Teal in his traps. This did not represent even half the 


stock on the estate (Millais, 1913). Needless to say these experiments at Netherby 
are now a thing of the past. 

It might be well to remark here that efforts of this kind are not successful in our 
northeastern States, because it is almost impossible to develop a local stock of any 
duck on account of our severe winters and strong tendency of the birds to migrate. 
A pair of European Teal that was brought over from England in 1909 bred in my 
artificial pond at Wenham the following year. The two young were never caught, 
but stayed about the pond till December 6 when they evidently migrated. In the 
spring of 1911, on April 19, I was astonished to find a female Teal, undoubtedly of 
this species, on the pond. I say undoubtedly, for Green-winged Teal are very rare 
here in the spring, and this one acted in every way like an old acquaintance, and 
stayed with us all through the spring and early summer (Phillips, 1911a). 

I understand that Mr. John A. Cox has also bred this Teal at East Brewster, 

Live Teal used to bring from 10 to 15 shillings the pair in England, but in this 
country the price was nearer $10.00 to $15.00. In the years 1919 to 1920 this 
species again began to appear in our American bird markets, some even coming from 
the Orient. 

Hybrids. Wild-killed hybrids between this and the following species have been 
recorded by Suchetet (1896) : Anas boschas. Anas penelope. Anas acuta. Anas quer- 
quedula. Poll (1911) mentions a cross between this species and Spatula clypeata. 

In confinement various hybrids have been produced. Crosses with the Pintail are 
fertile. I saw a live bird on Mr. Blaauw’s ponds in Holland that was three-fourths 
Teal and one-fourth Pintail and as nearly as I could see it resembled a pure-bred 
Teal in every detail. 


(P late 31; Plate 32) 


Ana^ carolinensis Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Natura;, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 533, 1778. 
Anas americana Bonnaterre {nec Gmelia), Encyclop. Methodique, vol. 1, p. 155, 

Anas migratoria Bartram, Travels in Florida, p. 295, 1791. 

Anas crecca Wilson {nec Linne), American Ornith., vol. 8, p. 101, pi. 60, fig. 1, 1814. 
Anas syhaiica Vieillot, Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Hist. Nat., vol. 5, p. 167, 1816. 
Querquedula carolinensis Stephens, General Zool., vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 148, 1824. 
Boschas carolinensis Jardine ed. Wilson’s American Ornith., vol. 3, p. 124, 1832. 
Boschas crecca americana Denny, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1847, p. 40. 

Nettion carolinensis Baird, Birds No. America, p. 777, 1858. 

Querquedula americana Murray, Edinburgh New Philos. Journ., vol. 9, p. 230, 1859. 
Nettion carolinense Blakiston, Ibis, ser. 1, vol. 4, p. 9, 1862. 

Querquedula crecca, var. carolinensis Dubois, Faune Vertebr. Belg., Oiseaux, vol. 2, 
p. 453, 1892. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Green-winged Teal, American Teal, Winter Teal, Green-wing, Mud Teal, 
Red-headed Teal. 

French: Sarcelle a ailes vertes, Cognotte, Sarcelle d’hiver. 

German: Griinfliigelige Krickente, Amerikanische Krickente, Krantente. 

Spanish: Pato floridano, Zarceta de otono, Zarceta de invierno. 

Mexican: Metzcanauhtli, Cincuitzcatl. 

Eskimo: Ting-a-zo-me-ok. 


Adult Male: Similar to the European Green-winged Teal, Anas crecca, but the white line along 
base of culmen and over eye is obsolete, or nearly so. The white line along the edge of the green patch 
under the eye is also very much reduced, or absent; the vermiculations on the mantle are less bold, 
and there is no white in the long outer scapulars. On each side of the breast, at the bend of the wing, 
is a broad white crescent, as in Anas formosa. 

Iris dark brovm. Bill hlack. Legs and feet olive-gray, darker at the joints; webs browmish black. 
Wing 180-190 mm.; tarsus 28-31; culmen 35-39. 

Weight to 12 ounces (0.37 kilograms) and about an ounce more at times. 



Adult Female : Similar in every respect to the female of Anas crecca, except in one character, which, 
although not constant, is worth noting. The anterior buff wing-bar is usually of a richer color in the 
American Teal in both sexes and at all ages, particularly in the outer half of the bar. In the European 
Teal this band is almost always very pale buff, or pure white, especially the outer end. I think it 
probable that at least nine out of every ten specimens can be correctly placed by this character alone. 
Weight 10 or 11 ounces (0.28 to 0.31 kilograms). 

Young Female in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Very similar to adult, but more spotted on lower 
abdomen, and with tail-feathers blunted. The spotting is very marked on the lower parts in the 
young during July and August. 

Young Male in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Impossible to tell with certainty from the female until 
one or two adult, or semi-adult feathers begin to show upon the scapulars, flanks, or breast. 

Adult Male in Eclipse: Similar to the female but the mantle and scapular feathers lack the light 
edges so that the whole upper side has a more uniform appearance. The lower side is almost impos- 
sible to tell from that of the female, but there are concealed black spots upon the breast. A few 
vermiculated feathers are present on the mantle or lower flanks in most specimens. 

Young in Down: Like Mallard but darker on back and much smaller. Not to be told from young of 
Anas crecca. Dark orbital stripe, dark aural patch, and superciliary light streak present as in many 
other true ducks. 

Young with first feathers on the lower side and on scapulars and pileum are very similar to the 
Mallard at the same age, but the lower side is more silvery, and not so heavily streaked. 



The Green-winged Teal is the American representative of the Old World Common Teal (Anas 
crecca) and its range is confined to North America, although it has straggled to Europe and Asia. Its 
usual breeding range does not extend east of the Great Lakes, though it does breed at 
a few points farther east, and is a rare straggler on the Labrador coast. Packard (1891) 
took “fully fledged young” at Fort Chimo late in July, and there are several non-breeding records for 
the Labrador peninsula (C. W. Townsend and Allen, 1907; Hantzsch, 1908). Furthermore, the 
species has been taken several times in western Greenland, from Nanortalik in the south, to Jacobs- 
havn in the north; and there is also a specimen taken at Nunusek, east Greenland, in May (Schalow, 
Eastern 1905). In Ontario and the eastern or maritime Provinces of Canada the Green- 

Canada wing nests occasionally. It has been seen on Anticosti in summer (Schmitt, 1904), is 

abundant on the Magdalens (Cory, 1878) where it breeds sparingly (Young, fide J. and J. M. Ma- 
coun, 1909; Maynard, 1882; Sanford, Bishop and Van Dyke, 1903; Goss, 1891). The Museum of 
Comparative Zoology possesses a specimen in down taken by C. J. Maynard in Amherst Harbor, 
Magdalens, on July 19, 1873, and Mr. H. K. Job tells me he saw many adults in these islands in the 
summer of 1921. The species appears to have nested also in Newfoundland and on Prince Edward 
Island (U.S. Biological Survey). Chamberlain (1882) describes it as a common summer resident in 
New Brunswick (!), but this is undoubtedly incorrect. There is one breeding record for Nova Scotia 
(U.S. Biological Survey), and one for Manicouagan, Quebec (Dionne, 1906). 

In the United States the easternmost breeding records seem to be for western New York, where it 
has nested on the Montezuma marshes (Eaton, 1910) and at Buffalo (Cooke, 1906). Two young 
United birds, shot in late July or early August in Orange County, New York, were thought to 

States have been bred near by (Forester, Amer. Game, 1873, p. 244). In Pennsylvania a few 

probably nest in the mountains of the north-central districts (B. H. Warren, 1890), but all these are 
sporadic records. There is no convincing evidence of its nesting in Ohio, though in northern Indiana 

Map 46. Distribution of American Green-winged Teal {Anas carolinensis) 

Breeding range, dotted line; winter range, broken line 



some may breed (A. W. Butler, 1898) as they do in Michigan (Gibbs, 1879; Cooke, 1906) and in 
southern Ontario (Cooke, 1906). Barrows (1912) is of the opinion that none now breeds in Michigan. 

The eastern boundary of the true breeding range is Illinois and Wisconsin. Cooke (1906) gives 
several records for the former State, and Grundtvig (1894) says it breeds often in Wisconsin. Kum- 
lien and Hollister (1903), however, speak only of its having nested formerly on Lake Kushkonong 
and commonly in the northern parts of Wisconsin. Audubon found it breeding at Green Bay, Wis- 
consin, in July, so possibly it was more common there once. It is known as a breeding bird in Minne- 
sota (Hatch, 1892; Roberts, 1919) although a rare one, but there is no reliable record of its nesting in 
Iowa. A few nest in the sand-hill region of Nebraska (Oberholser, 1920; U.S. Biological Survey notes) 
and in various localities in South Dakota (Agersborg, 1885; Visher, 1913). Even in North Dakota 
it is a rare breeder (Job, 1899; Bent, 1901-02). Farther west the species becomes more common, 
breeding throughout Montana (A. A. Saunders, 1921), as well as in Wyoming (Cary, 1917; W. C. 
Knight, 1902; Grave and Walker, 1913) and in Colorado (W. L. Sclater, 1912). It has nested even 
in New Mexico, in San Miguel County (W. I. Mitchell, 1898), and probably at Lake Burford (Wet- 
more, 1920). There seems to be a breeding record for Big Lake, east-central Arizona (U.S. Biological 
Survey). In Utah it nests on Great Salt Lake (Cooke, 1906; Wetmore, 1921); and in Nevada at 
Washoe Lake (Cooke, 1906), on Spring Moimtain (Hoffman, 1881) and on Quinn River (W. P. 
Taylor, 1912). Grinnell, Bryant and Storer (1918) state that only a few breed locally in California, 
the records extending to the southernmost parts of Ventura County. The species nests also in 
Oregon (Bendire, 1877 ; Merrill, 1888; Pope, 1895-96), in Idaho (Merriam, 1891) and in Washington 
(W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909), but nowhere in the United States can the Green-wing be classed 
as a common breeding bird. 

In British America the species breeds rarely east of Manitoba, though Spreadborough, on what 
evidence I do not know {fide J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909), found it common and breeding on both 
sides of James Bay, and it has been recorded from the Severn River and York Factory Central 
(Preble, 1902). In Manitoba it is a common breeder (E. E. Thompson, 1891 ; Taverner, Canada 
1919), as well as in Keewatin, where Preble (1902) met with considerable numbers about Cape and 
Fort Churchill, and even farther north along the coast of Hudson Bay. The British Museum pos- 
sesses a specimen taken by Rae on Repulse Bay ! But in general the species is not common on the 
Barren Grounds and many of these northern records are only summer stragglers. The center of the 
breeding area is in west-central Canada, from Manitoba to Lake Athabasca (Cooke, Western 
1906; J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909; F. Harper, MS.). Raine (1892) has recorded it for Canada 
southern Saskatchewan, and Buchanan (1920) found it very common on the Churchill River. 
Throughout central and northern Alberta it is a very common nesting bird (Soper, 1918; Stansell, 
1909; Preble, 1908), as it is in British Columbia (Kermode, 1904) and on Vancouver (R. Brown, 
1868). In the Canadian Northwest it breeds less rarely north of 60° north latitude. It is apparently 
quite common as far as Great Slave Lake (Preble, 1908), but farther north the species does not occur 
regularly east of the MacKenzie basin (Seton, 1911) and even along the course of that river it is a 
rather rare bird (MacFarlane, 1908). Nevertheless it has been found breeding at Fort Anderson and 
north to the region between Fort Good Hope and the old fort of that name (Preble, 1908). Stefansson 
(1913) says it is rare in the MacKenzie delta though several, he claims, were taken farther east on 
the coast beyond Richard Island. Schalow (1905) is inclined to believe that this species occurs on all 
the Arctic islands between Bering Strait and West Greenland, but the single specimen taken by Rae 
(British Museum) on Repulse Bay seems to me rather inadequate evidence to support such an opinion. 

West of the MacKenzie the Green-wing has been found on the Arctic coast at Demarcation Point 
and Herschel Island (W. S. Brooks, 1915) and southward on the Porcupine River (Lockhart, fide 
Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884), the upper Yukon (Kennicott, ibid.; Nelson, 1887) 
and the Macmillan River (Osgood, 1909). On the Pacific coast it is known to breed in 
southeastern Alaska (Hartlaub, 1883), at Sitka (Willett, 1914) and thence northwest in Prince Wil- 



Ham Sound (J. Grinnell, 1910). It appears to be rare on the lakes and rivers of the interior, but 
Dice (1920) found it rather common on the Kuskoquim, and it has been recorded from Ugasik and 
Nushagak, the mouth of the Kuskoquim and St. Michael’s (L. M. Turner, 1886). F. S. Hersey (1916) 
also recorded it from the latter place, while Nelson (1887) met with it farther up the river at Nulato 
and northward on the coast to Kotzebue Sound, Hotham Inlet and even Point Barrow. Further 
records for Kotzebue Sound are those of C. H. Townsend (1887) and J. Grinnell (1900). Bent (1912) 
has more recently shown that the statements of L. M. Turner (1886) and Nelson (1887) that the 
Green-wing breeds throughout the Aleutian chain, even west to Attu, are probably wrong. Careful 
examination showed nothing but European Green-wings (Anas crecca) on these islands. The west- 
ern limit of the American species is probably Unalaska, whence it has been recorded by Clark (1910) 
and Dali (1874) as well as by L. M. Turner (1886) and Nelson (1887). Specimens have also been 
taken on the Pribilovs, on St. George (Palmer, 1899) and St. Paul. A pair of this or of the Euro- 
pean species bred on the latter island in 1914 (G. D. Hanna, 1916). 



Winter Range 

Although the Green-winged Teal wdnters chiefly south of the 40th parallel of north latitude, its 
cold-weather range extends much farther north on the Pacific coast, perhaps even to the eastern 
parts of the Alaskan peninsula. Teal, probably the European species, are said to be 
common in winter on Unalaska (Dali, 1874; L. M. Turner, 1886; Nelson, 1887). Nel- 
son (1887) even speaks of it as resident west to the island of Kyska, but probably refers to the Com- 
mon Teal of Europe and Asia. It is true, however, that on one occasion at least, the species has been 
taken in Asia, at Haneda, between Tokio and Yokohama, Japan, on February 16, 
1916 (Kuroda, 1920). At Sitka and in southeastern Alaska it winters regularly in 
small numbers (Willett, 1914; Bailey, MS.), while on the coa.sts of British Columbia it is common in 
the cold season (Kermode, 1904). It is more or less common on the coasts of Washington (W. L. 
Western Dawson and Bowles, 1909; and others) and is said to be a common resident in Oregon 
United (Pope, 1895-96) while it is abundant in California (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918). 

States Even in the interior States it is known to have wintered as far north as western Mon- 

tana (A. A. Saunders, 1921) and the Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming (U.S. Biological Survey). 
Farther south it winters in Nevada (A.O.U. Check-list, 1910) and in Utah (Cooke, 1906), as well as 
Central parts of Colorado (W. L. Sclater, 1912) and more abundantly in southern Arizona 

United (Swarth, 1914) and New Mexico. Eastward the species winters as far north as Ne- 

States braska (Bruner, Wolcott and Swenk, 1905) and southern Iowa (Cooke, 1906), and in 

the States to the south it is recorded for Kansas (Bunker, 1913; H. Harris, 1919), Missouri (Wid- 
mann, 1907), Oklahoma (Cooke, 1914), Arkansas (Howell, 1911), Texas (Strecker, 1912) and Louisi- 
ana, where, of course, it is very numerous (Beyer, Allison and Kopman, 1907; and others). East of 
the Mississippi it has wintered as far north as central Illinois (Ridgway, 1895; Cooke, 1906) and Indi- 
Eastem • Butler, 1898), apparently also in Ohio (W. L. Dawson, 1903), Pennsylvania 

United (B. H. Warren, 1890) and New York (Eaton, 1910). In Massachusetts, Rhode Island 

States Connecticut it is only a rare winter visitor (G. M. Allen, 1909), while farther north, 

in Nova Scotia it has wintered a few times (Tufts, 1918). Southward along the Atlantic coast it 
winters occasionally in New Jersey (W. Stone, 1909), in Delaware (Rhoads and Pennock, 1905) and 
in Maryland (Kirkwood, 1895). Apparently it is not able to winter in the Alleghanies, though it is 
described as common in Fulton County, Kentucky (Pindar, 1889) and at Reelfoot Lake, western 
Tennessee (Forest and Stream, vol. 6, p. 147, 1876). It is a common winter bird on the coast north to 
Virginia (Rives, 1890), being found everywhere in eastern North Carolina (T. G. Pearson, Brimley and 
Brimley, 1919), South Carolina (Wayne, 1910), Georgia and Florida (Scott, 1892; Cory, 1896; etc.), 
but in nothing like the numbers found on the Gulf Coast, and farther west. It apparently extends 
south only to Lake Okeechobee, Florida (U.S. Biological Survey). In Alabama a few winter on the 



West Indies 

river of the same name (Golsan and Holt, 1914), while western Mississippi with Louisiana forms its 
chief winter resort. 

In the West Indies the Green-wing winters in great numbers in the Bahamas (Cory, 1890; Riley, 
1905), but in Cuba and Jamaica it is rare (Gundlach, 1875; P. L. Sclater, 1910), wLile from Haiti 
and Porto Rico it has never been recorded. On the other hand it seems to be common 
in the Lesser Antilles, on the islands of St. Vincent, Grenada and in the Grenadines 
(Clark, 1905) as well as in Carriacou (Wells, 1902). 

The species winters throughout most of Mexico whence it has been recorded for Sonora (Ferrari- 
Perez, 1886), Lower California (Belding, 1883), Chihuahua (Sanchez, 1877-78), Sinaloa (LawTence, 
1874), Zacatecas (Richardson, British Museum), Tamaulipas (Phillips, 1911), Vera 
Cruz (P. L. Sclater, 1857a, 1859a, 1860a), Guanajuato and Jalisco (Sanchez, 1877- 
78; Beebe, 1905), Michoacan (fide Cooke, 1906), Mexico (Sanchez, 1877-78; Villada, 1891-92), 
Tlaxcala (Ferrari-Perez, 1886) and Tabasco (Rovirosa, 1887). It has been taken also in British 
Honduras in the Orange Walk district (Goss, 1891), and in Honduras (Dyson, fide P. L. Sclater 
and Salvin, 1876; Moore, 1859). J. J. Rodriguez (1909-10) includes it as a doubtful species in his 
list of Guatemalan birds. 


Extra-Limital Records 

A FEW records outside the regular range remain to be mentioned. In the Bermudas the species is 
said to occur occasionally in autumn (J. M. Jones, 1859; von Martens, 1859; Reid, 1884). It has also 
been taken three times in England, viz., in Hampshire, 1840; in York, 1851; and in Devon, 1879 
(Brit. Ornith. Union Check-list, 1915). There are no further European records. In the Pacific the 
Green-wing occasionally visits the Haw'aiian group (R. C. L. Perkins, 1903) and possibly Laysan 
(Bryan, 1915). I have already mentioned the one record for Japan (Kuroda, 1920). In the remark- 
able appearance of American ducks in the Marshall Islands, the Green-winged Teal was also rep- 
resented by considerable numbers (Reichenow, 1899a, 1901; Schnee, 1901). 

Passage Area 

The greater part of the United States is for this species merely a passage area. States that may 
be included in this area are California (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 1918), and especially the interior 
States such as Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado (W. L. Sclater, 1912), Kansas 
(Goss, 1886; Bunker, 1913), Nebraska (Bruner, Wolcott and Swenk, 1905), the Dakotas, Minnesota 
(Hatch, 1892; Roberts, 1919), Iowa (R. M. Anderson, 1907), Missouri (Widmann, 1907), Arkansas 
(Howell, 1911) and all the States east of the Mississippi, excepting the coastal States from Virginia 
to Florida, where the species is a winter bird, rather than a bird of passage. In Canada the area of 
passage includes everything east of Manitoba. In the Maritime Provinces it is scarcely more than a 
straggler, at least this is so in Quebec and Nova Scotia, although small flights do at times occur 
(Dionne, 1906; Wuntle, 1896; Mcllwraith, 1894; C. W. G. Eifrig, 1910). In Ontario on the other 
hand it passes through the Lake region in great numbers. 


Dates of first arrivals on migration mean very little for this species. In 1916 at Long Point, Lake 
Erie, they were present in thousands as early as October 2, with perhaps double that number of 
Blue-winged Teal. Yet the bulk of the migration is late. In New England the Green-wing, rare as 
it is, appears almost always in November, between the 1st and the 10th, and records at Wenham 
Lake show it as late as December. In 1919 early in November there were a few; and again in 1920 
there was a small scattered flight. In 1922 it appeared in mid-October. 



Many dates will be found in Cooke (1906) and in more recent publications. The birds appear in 
western Pennsylvania sometimes as early as early September, in Virginia in late September, but they 
do not become common until later, in early November. Farther north they occasionally linger until 
rather late, as November 4 (Prince Edward Island), November 1 (Montreal), November 9 (Sas- 
katchewan). early October (St. Michael’s, Alaska). West of the Mississipj)i these Teal begin to arrive 
from middle to late September, and in California by September 17, but the bulk of the migration 
takes place in the last half of October and the first half of November. The average date of final disap- 
pearance in thirteen years for Ontario is October 28. The average for Iowa in seven years is Novem- 
ber 22. They appear as far south as the Valle de Mexico as early as October, and some arrive in the 
Lesser Antilles in October. 

The spring migration in the Mississippi Valley is early, for they arrive in Missouri in late February, 
in Illinois in early March, and in Iowa about the same time; in Minnesota in late March and in 
North Dakota in early A])ril. They reach Manitoba in middle April, and Saskatchewan about April 
13. On the Pacific coast the birds reach high latitude early in the spring. They have been recorded 
for the middle Yukon May 3 and for the mouth of the Yukon May 20. They sometimes linger late 
into the spring in the Carolinas and Louisiana before commencing their overland flight, and I have 
seen them in South Carolina in thousands in late March. Probably the birds which are going to the 
far north tarry longer on their wintering grounds. 

Spring records for the Northeast are not very plentiful, and may represent merely the small num- 
bers which nest in the Magdalen Islands and other points near there. There are, however, spring 
records for all our New England States and for Montreal (Wintle, 1896). It is very suggestive that at 
the west end of Lake Erie spring records show fewer Teal, which certainly points to a different spring 
route, probably farther west. 

There is one set of interesting records of these Teal banded at Bear River Marshes, Utah, by A. 
Wetmore (U.S. Biological Survey) in the late summer and autumn of 1915 and 1916. Wetmore was 
able to place 336 bands in connection with his work on the duck sickness. There were 51 returns, 
distributed as follows: Utah, Bear River and vicinity, 30; California, 19; Arizona, southern, 1; 
Colorado, southern, 1. The California returns are from practically all over the State except the 
extreme northern and southeastern parts. There are four from Los Baftos, in the San Joaquin Valley, 
two from Brito, California, and two from Merced County, California. These ducks were all shot the 
same year they were banded or the year after. The mortality by the hand of man was therefore 
about 15%, and these mortality statistics may some day be of great interest. 

A Green-wing banded at Avery Isle, Louisiana, February 12, 1917, was killed at Badger, Minne- 
sota, April 25, 1920. Another banded in the same place was taken near Herman, Minnesota. 


Haunts. The American Green-winged Teal is so closely related to the Common 
Teal of the Old World that it has been relegated to a subspecific rank by Hartert 
(1920). The ranges of the two birds undoubtedly overlap on the Alaskan peninsula, 
but since no specimen showing intermediate characters has been taken, it seems 
more reasonable to allow the bird the position of a full species. 

So familiar is this Teal to sportsmen and ornithologists that any long account of 
its life-history is superfluous. In its habits it does not differ in any way from the 
Common Teal, save where the nature of the country and the climate affect its food 
or migration. Just as the Mallard in Europe shows a strong tendency to become 
sedentary, while in America it becomes so only in a few widely scattered districts, so 



the Green-wing is far less a resident species than is the Common Teal in certain 
parts of Europe. It is essentially a fresh-water species, but on both the Pacific and 
the Atlantic coasts it has been known to raft on the salt water in order to escape 
danger, and occasionally it even feeds on tidal or brackish fiats (W. L. Dawson and 
Bowles, 1909), During migration it often resorts to salt-marshes. 

Wariness. Though wilder than the Blue-winged Teal, this species is tamer 
than any of the other northern shoal-water ducks. In thick cover it is just as likely 
to attempt concealment as to fly up. These habits were well described by L. M. Tur- 
ner (1886) who observed them near St. Michael’s, Alaska, where they would even 
dive under a mass of vegetation in preference to flushing. Single individuals or small 
lots as they appear in New England ponds, always come to live decoys without the 
least suspicion and I have even seen them refuse to fly more than a few yards after 
a shot had been fired. This habit of returning to a favorite feeding ground even after 
a raking shot, is particularly characteristic of the species and has been noted by 
many writers. When spring shooting was allowed it was common to see one of a 
pair return after its mate had been killed. 

Daily Movements. This Teal is extremely inactive during the daytime and 
through the noonday hours loves to sleep on mud-banks, in shallow water or even 
on logs. Elliot (1898) says he has seen large flocks floating down the Mississippi 
with the current, quite indifferent as to where it would take them. At night they 
become very active, as any one can testify who has heard the constant whistling of 
the males and chattering of the females on moonlight nights. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. The male cannot be distinguished from the Euro- 
pean Teal when on the water, unless the white breast-bar can be seen. The promi- 
nent white scapulars of the European bird are diagnostic when present, but they are 
among the last of the feathers to reach full maturity. In posture and movements on 
the water and on land, our Teal differs in no way from its Old World relative. 

I have seen this species as well as the Blue-wing on the Gulf Coast perching 
quite commonly on low dead trees or branches projecting from the water; and Mr. 
Francis Harper, who has been collecting recently on the Athabasca, writes me that 
he foimd them very often sitting on logs by the side of streams in summer. 

Flight, The small size and erratic flight of this Teal have given rise to most 
astonishing estimates as to its speed, one writer (Hatch, 1892) even giving it 
credit for a rate of 160 miles per hour ! It is more likely as has been said in connection 
with the preceding species, that the speed is rarely more than fifty miles per hour. 

Outside the regular migration route, the Green-wing is often seen here in New 



England traveling either as single birds, immature young of the year, or in small 
groups of from four to six. The family parties do not seem to be particularly large, 
judging from the numerous reports of five or six birds being seen. On the regular 
wintering grounds or great gathering points they of course assemble in larger num- 
bers, the flocks often reaching fifty or more. I have seen dense clouds numbering 
thousands gathered at the mouth of the Santee River, South Carolina, in March and 
in the great brackish Gulf Coast marshes, thousands, mixed with Blue-wings and 
Shovellers, may sometimes be driven from one small pond, arising like a dark cloud 
with a thunderous roar of wings. I do not recall ever having seen a high, migrating 
flock, but they are said to assume formations similar to those of the Mallard when on 

Association with other Species. Teal seem to prefer Mallard and Black 
Duck to other larger ducks, but they mix almost indiscriminately with the Blue- 
wings during the autumn and winter, although during the winter the Blue-wings 
mostly withdraw from the northern part of the Green-wing’s range. Stragglers on 
migration sometimes pick strange company for I have watched them passing far 
out at sea with flocks of Scoters and I have heard of them doing the same thing with 

Voice. The voice is probably exactly the same as that of the Common Teal. 
The scraping, creaking, snipe-like call heard in the early autumn may come from 
immature males. I am not certain about this, but I am sure that the clear double 
whistling note is a rare sound except in the spring. I remember once very early in 
the morning mistaking the call of an immature male for that of a snipe. Dr. A. F. 
Warren, who made very careful notes on captive Teal, writes me that the drake’s 
voice is not the same in the autumn as in the spring, but is hoarser and not so clear- 
cut. He also describes a sound like the ‘Tow, soft whine of a little puppy” from the 
drake in the breeding season. This last sound is only to be heard for a distance of a 
few feet. Single females swimming toward live decoys are usually very noisy, even 
in early autumn, but the males are throughout most of the year comparatively silent 
ducks. In addition to the sharp high quack of the female and the preep-preep of the 
male, Harper wi'ites me that on the breeding grounds he once surprised a pair 
asleep on a log that were too dazed to do more than utter a call sounding like kup- 
kup-kup. Another note entirely strange to him came from some very tame birds 
which swam tow’^ard him out of apparent curiosity. This he described as like ek-ek- 
ek. I have never heard any such note as this. 

Food. Audubon’s early investigations of the diet of this Teal seem to be borne 
out by the recent examinations made by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That 



much-quoted author describes them as feeding principally upon the seeds of grasses, 
either floating or on the stalks, besides small acorns, fallen grapes or berries, aquatic 
insects, worms and snails. Briefly summarized, the results of an analysis of 653 
stomachs by the U.S. Biological Survey showed that birds taken in autumn, winter 
and early spring fed on vegetable matter in a proportion of over 90%. By far the 
largest item of food came from various species of sedges, including the seeds of a 
large number of unidentified bulrushes (38.2%). Various pond-weeds totalled 
11.52%, while grasses, smart-weeds and algae comprised most of the remainder. No 
fewer than 30,000 seeds of a Cyperus (sedge) were found in one stomach, while other 
stomachs contained as many as 1000 of some other kind of seed. The animal food 
consisted chiefly of insects, of which flies were the commonest family; small mollusks 
were next in number, and their broken shells were often used as grinding material 
instead of gravel (Mabbott, 1920). No acorns or grapes were found in any of these 
stomachs. It is interesting to find that in the interior of Alaska the food consisted 
of essentially the same items, viz,, sedges and horse-tail rush, Equisetum (Dice, 1920). 

CouBTSHiP AND NESTING. The display as I have frequently seen it on my own 
ponds and as Harper observed it for me many times in the Athabasca region, is ex- 
actly like that of the European Teal (see Plate 32). Pursuit flights are as common 
in this species as in other shoal-water ducks and were first noted by Harper on June 
13. Two males and a female, and once three males and a female, took part. Some- 
times the excited birds would twist in and out through the tops of the willows, the 
female uttering her call. 

Most of the nesting dates are for June, but there are several Alaskan dates for 
late May (Dali and Bannister, 1869; Nelson, 1887) and one for Edmonton, Alberta, 
May 25 (Spreadborough, in J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909). The spring of 1919 was a 
late one, and at the mouth of the Athabasca the first young were seen on July 2, and 
during the following week several other broods were found. On Jifly 14 three nearly 
feathered yoimg were seen (Harper, in litt.). It may be interesting to note that this 
species was one of the few ducks found in any numbers in the small rocky ponds 
toward the east end of Athabasca Lake, where the Surf Scoter was found nesting. 

The nest is usually placed near the water, but in a dry spot. Some, however, have 
been noted as much as a quarter of a mile from the water (Spreadborough, in J. and 
J. M. Macoun, 1909). It is very apparent from the small number of nests found, 
even in the great breeding areas, that the nests are better concealed and harder to 
find than those of the Mallard, Widgeon and Gadwall. Not infrequently they are 
placed in bushy situations, or under cover. 

The normal clutch is probably the same as that of the European Teal, though as 
many as sixteen to eighteen eggs, undoubtedly the work of two females, have been 
noted (Dali and Bannister, 1869). The eggs look exactly like those of Anas crecca 



and are also indistinguishable from those of the Blue-winged Teal, although the 
maximum measurements for eggs of the latter are slightly larger. The nest-down is 
the same as that of the European Teal and is many shades darker than the female’s 
winter down (Bowles, 1917). The incubation period is about twenty-one days, or 
from twenty to twenty-three days (Job, 1915; and others). 

After the young are hatched the female is unusually fearless in her attempts to 
lead the intruder away from the brood. Many stories of the ruses employed are to 
be found in the literature. Mr. Francis Harper writes me that a female he surprised 
with a brood turned and flapped all about his canoe, quacking aahk aahk, taking 
short flights, and in alighting, tobogganing along the surface on the outspread webs 
of her feet, which held her up for some time. The young have the same fine peeping 
notes as other young Mallard-like ducks. 

Careful observations made on the breeding grounds by Bent (1901-02), Job 
(1902), Wetmore (1920, 1921) and Harper (MS.) failed to show any tendency in the 
male to stay with the family any longer than does the Mallard. In spite of what has 
been said under Anas creccn, it seems to me that instances of the male remaining 
with the family must be very exceptional, if they occur at all. Males in eclipse are 
not so difficult to find as with some other species. On July 6, 1921, near Okanagan 
Lake, British Columbia, Major Allan Brooks saw nine males in all stages of plumage 
from full breeding to full eclipse and every one of these birds was capable of rapid 
flight. The moulting of the primaries takes place some time after the eclipse 
plumage is complete, as it usually does in other ducks. 

Status. Over the whole of New England the Green-wing may be termed an un- 
common, late-autumn migrant, and a very rare spring migrant. It is impossible to 
judge from earlier writers the exact standing of this species seventy-five or one 
hundred years ago. Aubudon evidently considered it rare to the northeast of 
Philadelphia, though others considered it tolerably abundant on migration. It 
probably was never more than 10% or 15% as abundant as the Blue-wing. Forbush 
(1912), basing his conclusions on correspondence with old hunters and residents, 
thinks that remarkable flights occurred in Massachusetts up to 1850. I am inclined 
to think it was never common east of the Hudson, except for sporadic autumn flights 
which were probably few and far between but may have left a vivid impression on 
the minds of shooters. My own records at Wenham Lake, Massachusetts, extending 
over a period of twenty-two years, give a good idea of this Teal’s actual standing in 
the autumn flight. It represents only a little over 1 % of all the ducks shot there. 

In the Lake Erie region Green-wings are abundant in the autumn, representing 
7.5% of the total bag between 1887 and 1920 at the Long Point Club, where 
4502 were taken in those years. There is no evidence of any decrease during this 
period. Very high years were 1887, 1889, 1890, 1901, 1910, 1912, 1916, and 1919. 

Plate 32 





In 1894 only twenty-six were secured out of a total of 6741 ducks, and in other 
years (1904, 1905, 1914), almost as lean times occurred. I am told that Teal 
are absent there in the spring but definite records are lacking. Very interesting 
statistics from the Monroe Marsh Club (west end of Lake Erie) in the autumn 
shooting between 1885 and 1901 show that Teal numbered 3587 in a total of 40,615 
ducks shot, or 8%, but during the spring seasons not a single Teal was recorded, due 
apparently to restrictive game laws. The largest years were 1888, 1889, 1890, 
1896, 1897, 1898, the largest being 1898. The lowest years were 1886, 1892, 1895, 
1900, 1901. A comparison with the number of Blue-wings is not advisable because 
great bodies of the latter pass over this region before the shooting season is well 
under way. I am not able to say definitely whether there is a great dearth of Teal 
in the spring flight. It is possible that their absence in certain places may be partly 
due to high water. Nevertheless I am inclined to think that there is a more western 
spring migration route. 

Turning to North Carolina we find Teal representing a smaller proportion of the 
ducks shot at Currituck, numbering only 4% at the Currituck Club, 7% at the Swan 
Island Club and 2% at the Princess Anne Club (Virginia). Sportsmen do not always 
shoot Teal when larger ducks are about so that the actual numbers are not entirely 
representative. However, between the years 1889 and 1918 there is no definite 
indication of diminution; the large years at the Currituck Club were 1900, 1901, 
1904, and small years go back as far as 1889. Large years at the Swan Island Club 
(1909 to 1919) were 1910 and 1913, the low ones 1918 and 1919 but these last have no 
significance on account of the new bag-limit law. From my own experience at Curri- 
tuck I feel sure that Green-wings do not come to that region in as great a volume 
as they do about Lake Erie. Very likely much of this Erie flight passes south to 
the west of the Appalachians, down the Ohio and Mississippi valleys just as banded 
Mallard in that same region have been shown to do. 

The status of the Teal is a little different on the South Carolina coast where as 
many as 324 have been taken in a total of about 3000 other ducks, the proportion 
varying from 1 % to 10% of the shoal-water ducks shot at the Santee Club. This is 
more of a Teal country than the sounds farther north. 

The great winter home of the species is on the Gulf Coast. Here it is extremely 
abundant, particularly in Louisiana, where I have seen them by the 100,000 in the 
month of January. Farther west the Green-wing is probably second in abundance 
among the ducks. In the Rio Grande Valley it was second to the Mallard, represent- 
ing 16 to 18% of all ducks shot (Leopold, 1919). In California it seems to exceed all 
other species. In 1895-96 more than 82,000 were sold in the markets of San Francisco 
and Los Angeles, Records of a gun-club near Monterey show that it is second in 
number, sometimes exceeded by the Pintail, sometimes by the Widgeon. Of the 
ducks received by the San Francisco Market in 1910-11 no less than 27 % were Teal, 



these outnumbering any other species; and in the total number of ducks received 
by the Hunters’ Game Transfer Company in the years 1906 to 1911, Teal num- 
bered 33%. The small numbers of Cinnamon Teal included in these figures would 
not materially affect the results. There seems to be no doubt about a general de- 
crease of Teal in California, at least up to the years 1914-15 (Grinnell, Bryant and 
Storer, 1918). But reports from the whole western region indicate a satisfactory 
increase in this and other species, due to the protection afforded by the Federal Law 
of 1913. 

Teal probably never represented any large proportion of the ducks nesting in Michi- 
gan, Wisconsin, Minnesota or the Dakotas, for the great breeding area of the species 
lies between Lakes Manitoba and Athabasca. On the Bear River Marshes, Utah, 
although so far south, it was eighth in order of abundance among the breeding ducks, 
about fifty pairs nesting (Wetmore, 1921). Job (1902) found it a rare breeder in the 
great duck region of North Dakota, and Bent (1901-02) seems to have found no nest 
at all. In Minnesota it is still a not uncommon breeder, but may have nested in 
considerable numbers in years past (Roberts, 1919). According to the figures of the 
State Conservation Commission it ranged from the third to the twelfth commonest 
duck shot in the years 1919 and 1920 and represented from 2% to 12% of the total, 
showing that as a migrant its relative proportion in this region is far less than 
farther west. In the Athabasca region, which should be near the center of abundance, 
it was found only fifth in order among the ducks, the Lesser Scaup, Mallard, Golden- 
eye and Pintail exceeding it (Harper, MS.). 

Enemies. From the small number in the family parties as they appear in au- 
tumn, I suspect that mortality among young Green-wings may be greater than with 
Mallard, Black Duck and many diving ducks. Most dangerous of the mammals are 
coyotes, coons, weasels and domestic cats (H. C. Bryant, 1914; Wetmore, 1921). 
Among the birds, magpies perhaps do most pillaging of eggs. This is cer- 
tainly the case in our western States. In the north, crows and ravens may be a 
greater menace. Gulls of various species are probably destructive only in certain 
regions and in individual cases. Certain hawks and occasionally herons are said 
to take young. Being so small, the downy young are probably more often snapped 
up by fish and turtles than are the young of larger species. Dr. A. F. Warren writes 
me that these Teal are apparently not susceptible to tape-wmrms when placed 
among captive Red-heads and Black Ducks that were highly infected. 

Damage. Damage done to crops of growing rice in California or Arkansas is 
negligible as compared to that inflicted by Pintail, Mallard and some of the 
geese. The bulk of these Teal arrive so late in the central and southern States that 
they can have but little effect on agriculture. 



Food Value. Teal are usually fat, almost always well flavored and never tough. 
Audubon thought them superior even to the Canvas-back when shot in the rice- 
fields of Georgia and the Carolinas. They certainly deserve to rank among the 
finest of the shoal-water ducks, the only disadvantage being their small size. A Teal’s 
weight is only one-quarter that of a prime Mallard and in the Boston markets 
where its price, as elsewhere, was relatively high, it used to bring from 60 to 90 
cents the pair, while the Mallard and Black Duck brought from $1.50 to $1.75 per 
pair. In the California markets in Belding’s time its value as a table duck is well 
shown by the fact that it brought from $1.50 to $1.75 the dozen (higher even than 
the Widgeon) while the Mallard brought from $2.50 to $3.00 the dozen (Grinnell, 
Bryant and Storer, 1918). 

I imagine that at times it feeds on maggots gleaned from dead fish on the salmon 
rivers of British Columbia, a habit rather common to Mallards in that region, and 
if this be the case the flesh is no doubt badly tainted. 

Hunt. Methods of hunting the Green-wing differ very little from those em- 
ployed with the Mallard and other surface-feeders. The ease with which they are 
approached and their habit of returning, make them an easy pot-shot mark for a 
not too skilful shooter, but of course when shot fairly over decoys, unless one takes 
a chance at shooting into the thick of a flock, they afford an exceedingly difficult 

Behavior in Captivity. Instances of the breeding and laying of pinioned Green- 
wings in captivity are very rare and there is no doubt that our Teal is just as difficult 
to propagate as the Common Teal. My own experience is that they are far less apt 
to breed than the Blue-wing, but unquestionably the proposition would be much 
simplified if one could establish a local breeding stock in a region of mild, even 
climate like that of California. I have kept a few pairs from time to time but have 
never seen one even build a nest or get beyond the preliminaries of courtship, al- 
though the European Teal reared a brood for me in 1911. John A. Cox of East Brew- 
ster, Massachusetts, and Henry Cook of Woodbury, Long Island, New York, are said 
to have had some success (Job, 1915). I think the late Wilton Lockwood of Boston 
bred some on his pond at South Orleans, Massachusetts. Dr. A. E. Warren of Chico- 
pee Falls, Massachusetts, had them nest in his back yard in a city lot, under very 
unfavorable conditions but did not succeed in rearing any young. His experiences 
are so interesting that I shall quote them at length farther on. This is indeed a very 
meager showing when one considers the great numbers that must have been kept in 
parks and private collections during the past twenty-five years. 

I have no accurate data which would give an idea of their longevity. The small 
ducks are all more apt to fall prey to stray cats, rats, hawks and owls than the larger 



species, hence their chance of attaining to a green old age, especially when pinioned, 
is very small. They “go bad” in the feet in our long, cold New England winters and 
so are placed on the pond in spring in poor condition for mating. 

Dealers dislike to handle Teal as the mortality is always considerable and the 
birds do not ship very well. They can often be obtained for $6.00 to $12.00 a 
pair, perhaps less for fresh-trapped specimens. I doubt if our Teal has ever been 
introduced into European collections. It is too similar to its European cousin to 
make the effort worth while. 

Dr. ^Yarren, mentioned above, has written me about his pets and his success in 
getting them to nest in such close quarters is so remarkable that I am tempted to 
quote him rather fully. His yard was about 48 feet square and contained a cement 
pool eleven by seven feet from which the water was allowed to run out of the tank 
into a small ditch where the Teal were fed. One female nested four out of the six 
years that he had her but no eggs went beyond eighteen or twenty days’ incubation. 
One season this female sat for thirty-five days on a set of eggs which later proved to 
contain nearly adult, but dead ducklings. His Teal laid about June 15 but he had 
nests as late as August 1, when larger ducks had interfered with their domestic 
plans. The paired drakes did not moult until their females had begun to sit. Fe- 
males that did not lay, moulted as early as the males, a fact once or twice noted in 
other ducks under natural conditions. During moult he noted that his Teal were 
extremely silent, both males and females. 

As to hardihood. Dr. Warren’s Teal stood a temperature of 18° to 20° below zero, 
Fahrenheit, but they could not walk about on land much at that temperature with- 
out freezing their feet. The food he used was of great variety. It consisted of mixed 
grains, smart-weed and yellow-dock seed, besides lettuce and celery -tops. His birds 
were also very fond of fresh-dug angleworms, particularly during the breeding 
season at which time they preferred all sorts of animal food. They would not eat 
the large “night-crawler” angleworms nor live “pollywogs.” 

Dr. Warren found the male Teal making a rather imperfect nest during the breed- 
ing season, but he says that this nest was never used by the female. The final nest 
was not visited at all by the male and in fact the male could not be driven near it. 
The female took two or three days in its construction. He has also seen the female 
take a cracked egg out of the nest and carry it to water and then drop it in. Although 
the male never visited the nest during incubation and never whistled loudly at this 
time, he would watch very intently for his mate to come off the nest in the evening to 
feed. The same pair always stayed mated until one of them died and the female 
would never mate with more than one drake. If the male died, his mate did not 
breed the next year. The male, however, would attach himself to more than one 
female if he could. (Behavior such as this cannot be considered the rule in the wild, 
as captivity often distorts the sex instincts to a marked degree.) But if there were 



only one drake, the ducks quarreled amongst themselves for his attentions and in- 
terfered with one another’s breeding plans. The same was true if there was only 
one duck and several drakes. 

Dr. Warren found this species hardy and long-lived but he has lost some from 
tuberculosis. Under the same conditions he found the Blue-winged Teal {Anas 
discors) too tender to be of any use at all. 

Hybrids. Wild hybrids are extremely rare. Some people have the impression 
that duck hybrids of many sorts are common, but when we remember the millions 
of ducks which annually pass through the hands of observant sportsmen or market 
men, many of whom could not fail to notice such striking hybrids as those between 
Teal, Mallard, Widgeon and Shovellers, we must conclude that mixtures between 
the ducks in the natural state are very unusual indeed. Of course it goes without 
saying that few hybrids except full-plumaged males ever reach the hands of the 
ornithologist because female hybrids are rarely recognized. I find but one wild 
hybrid described: Anas carolinensis x Anas boschas (W. Stone, 1903a). 


(Plate 33) 


Anas formosa Georgi, Reise Russ. Reich., p. 168, 1775. 

Anas glocitans Pallas, Kongl. Vet. Acad. Handl., Stockholm, ser. 1, vol. 40, pp. 26, 
33, 1779. 

Anas baikal Bonnaterre, Encyclop. Methodique, vol. 1, p. 158, 1791. 

Querquedula formosa Stephens, General ZooL, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 151, 1824. 
Querquedula glocitans Boie, Oken’s Isis, 1828, col. 329. 

Anas perpulchra Yarrell, Report Council Zool. Soc. London, 1831, p. 22. 

Anas cucidlata Fischer, Bull. Soc. Imp. des Nat. Moscow, vol. 3, p. 279, 1831. 
Dafila ? cucidlata G. R. Gray, Genera Birds, vol. 3, p. 615, 1845. 

Eunetta formosa Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 650, 1856. 
Aix formosa Swinhoe, Ibis, ser. 2, vol. 3, pp. 394, 409, 1867. 

Querquedula himacidata Fritsch {nec auct.), Vogel Europa’s, p. 418, pi. 47, figs. 7, 
11, 1870. 

Eunetta glocitans Prjevalski, in Rowley’s Ornith. Miscellany, vol. 3, p. 105, 1878. 
Nettion formosa Giglioli, Avifauna Ital., p. 312, 1886. 

Nettion formosum Salvadori, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 240, 1895. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Formosan Teal, Baikal Teal, Clucking Teal, Spectacled Teal, Japanese Teal. 
German: Prachtente, Japanische Ente, Brillen-Kriechente, Zierente. 

French: Sarcelle formose, Sarcelle du Japon, Canard glosseur. 

Italian: Alzavola asiatica. 

Dutch: Japansche Taling. 

Russo-Siberian: Klokonchka. 

Mongolian: Alak-tarikitu. 

Japanese: Ajigamo, Tomoyegamo. 

Yakut: Marodu. 


Adult Male: Top of the head, a patch at the back of the neck, chin and throat, and a bridle-like 
stripe across the face, black. Remainder of face bufiF, margined with more or less white. Extending 
back from each eye, meeting at the occiput and continuing as a triangle down sides of neck is a bril- 

Plate 33 




liant metallic-green patch, bordered in front with a black stripe, and behind by a white one. Mantle 
and scapulars very finely vermieulated with gray and black, or plain brown, but the inner scapulars 
highly ornate, like the tertials. Back, rump and tail grayish brown. Lower neck and upper breast 
vinaceous, thickly covered with round blackish spots, which extend posteriorly on to the white or 
cream-colored part of the breast. On the sides of the breast at the bend of the wing is a crescentic 
white band. Rest of lower surface white, except the imder tail-coverts, which are black in the middle 
and chestnut on the sides. Flanks finely vermieulated, slate-gray like the mantle. Outer wing-coverts 
uniform brown, except the tips of the greater ones which are cinnamon, forming an anterior speculum 
band. Speculum itself black and glossy green, with a white posterior band; primaries brown. The 
longer tertials are sharply pointed and highly colored with black, white and cinnamon. Under wing- 
coverts brownish. 

Iris dark brown. Bill blue-black or “dark bluish brown.” Legs and feet bluish or yellowish 
gray, dusky on the webs. 

Wing 200-216 mm.; bill 35-38; tarsus 34-37. 

Weight 18 ounces (0.50 kilograms) (Latham). 

Adult Female: A plain b^o^vn duck, somewhat like the female European Teal, but darker on the 
mantle and seapulars, and easily distinguished in the field by the round white spot at the base of the 
culmen, as well as by the larger size. The head is very dark on top, and there is an indication of a 
face pattern in the light superciliary streak, as well as in a light patch in the center of the cheek, 
behind the eye, and at the base of the culmen. Feathers of mantle and scapulars with black centers. 
Ornamental tertials not present. Wing same as in male. Upper breast spotted or streaked, rest of 
lower parts white or cream colored. 

Iris dark brown. Bill dull lead-color, freckled more or less on the culmen. Legs and feet as in male. 

Wing 190-198 mm.; bill 33-36; tarsus 32-35. 

Immature Female: Specimens in late August are very similar in general appearance to the adult fe- 
male. The lower abdomen is, however, spotted or streaked with brown and the tail-feathers are blunt. 

Immature Male: At first very much like the young female but probably always distinguished by 
the presence of light barring on the feathers of the mantle (a character of some importance in other 
species) and the absence of the white spot at the base of the culmen. By October the spots on the 
breast become more prominent and finely vermieulated feathers begin to appear on the mantle, 
scapulars and flanks. By December the body plumage may be nearly complete but the face pattern 
stiU remains obscured. Adult head plumage does not appear to be complete until late winter. 

Male m Eclipse: There is a general resemblance to the adult female, but not so close as in many 
other species. The top of the head and nape are of a more uniform brown. The sides of the head are 
different. The conspicuous white spot at the base of the culmen is much reduced, and the light area, 
which in the female extends from the throat up to the cheeks, is absent. The mantle and scapulars 
are more uniform, and the edges of the feathers are rusty in color. The upper breast inclines to a 
wine color, and the sides and flanks are rusty. The ornamental scapulars of winter plumage are 
absent. Speculum as in winter plumage. A few vermieulated feathers may be distinguished in the 
mantle and scapulars (Museum of Comparative Zoology specimen). A. von Middendorff (1853) 
described this plumage from males shot at the end of July or in early August. 

Young in Down: A. von Middendorff says it is easily recognized by the spot at the base of the bill 
and by the stripe through the eye, which are the same as in the old female, but yellowish instead of 
white. I have not seen specimens. 






There is, so far as I know, no absolutely reliable information coneerning the extent of the breeding 
range of this species. In general it lies in northern and eastern Siberia, between the 48th and 71st 
or 72d parallels of latitude, and the 80th and 175th meridians of longitude east from 
Greenwich. It has never been recorded as breeding much to the west of the Jenesei 
River, but A. von MiddendorfI (1853) tells us it is the commonest duck on the Boganida (70° north 
latitude) not going as far north, however, as the Taimyr River (latitude 72° north). Recently Johan- 
sen (Mess. Ornith., 1912, p. 287) has recorded six specimens shot from a flock in May on the River 
Toma, Tomsk Government. He says the species also appears in autumn, but it is apparently a 
rather rare bird. It breeds in this region, as also much farther to the east on the Aim River in the 
Stanowoi Mountains (58° north). Along the Arctic coast of Asia we have it recorded breeding 
abundantly at the mouth of the Kolyma River (Thayer and Bangs, 1914; Riley, 1918; Dresser, 
1906), and in the extreme east it was taken at the very end of May, 1906, on the Anadyr River 
(Bianchi, 1908), where I presume it must breed. It has been taken on the Commander Islands 
(Bianchi, 1909; Hartert, 1920) as well as in Kamchatka (Dybowski.^de Taczanowski, 
1893) in which latter locality it may very likely breed, though at Gichiga it was seen 
only on passage (J. A. Allen, 1905). Von Bunge and Toll (1887) found a nest on Great Liakoff 
Island, off the Arctic coast of Siberia, but Schalow (1906) very justly calls in question this extraordi- 
nary record. No actual specimens have ever been taken so far north. Von Bunge (1883) found the 
birds common in flocks up to thirty or so in late June at Sagastyr in the Lena delta, but adds 
that these were all males, and that the natiA es told him about the occasional occurrences of females, 
saying, however, that they never bred there. It seems to be a fairly well-established fact that flocks of 
males fly as far north as the Arctic coast of Siberia while the females are incubating, and I hardly 
believe that the species breeds north of the 71st parallel of latitude. Farther south it has been taken 
at Jeneseisk on the middle Jenesei by Popham (1898). Suschkin (1913) says it straggles to Minus- 
sinsk on the upper Jenesei, and Dybowski (Taczanowski, 1873) states that it breeds near Darasun in 
Dauria, east of Lake Baikal. On the other hand Radde (1863) claims that it does not occur on Lake 
Baikal in summer, and Buturlin (1908) gives the 59th parallel as its southern limit on the Lena 
River. Probably it breeds in restricted numbers east of Lake Baikal and throughout the Stanowoi 
Mountains. At any rate it breeds in the Amur country (Baker, 1908) and possibly on Saghalin 
Island (Nikolski, fide Taczanowski, 1893) though hardly as far south as the lower Ussuri and the 
Suiffan River regions. On Yezo it has been seen in the spring and autumn (Stejneger, 1893). 

In the regions lying between the 48th and 55th parallels it is chiefly, if not wholly, a bird of passage, 
coming from the south, where it winters throughout China and Japan. Excluding the deserts of 
Mongolia it winters south perhaps to the 20th parallel and west to about 105° east 
longitude. E. H. Wilson (1913) found it in winter in western China near Kiating, 
Thayer and Bangs (1912) report a specimen taken on November 26, 1907, in the 
Hupeh Province, central China, and La Touche (1922) found it common in that Province in winter. 
Styan (1891) speaks of it as common on the lower Yangtse, and Wade (1895) says the same about the 
vicinity of Shanghai. R. Swinhoe (1873) reports it as fairly common at Ningpo, and La Touche 
(1892) states that it stays till March at Kiu-kiang in the interior. R. Swinhoe (1863) and Uchida 
(1912) have recorded it for Formosa, and Styan (1891) speaks of it as common at Foochow, occurring 
also at Swatow. On the whole it may be said to be very common in winter throughout southern and 
eastern China, as well as in Japan, especially in the southern districts. Blakiston and Pryer (1882) 
speak of it as common about Tokio, and even north of it, while Seebohm (1892) says it frequents 
Tsushima (between the southern extremity of Japan and Korea) in flocks numbering hundreds dur- 
ing the winter. In Korea proper, however, as well as throughout northernmost China, Mongolia 
and Manchuria it is really a bird of passage rather than a winter guest. 



Map 47. Distribution of Formosan Teal {Anas formosa) 

Breeding range, dotted line; winter range, broken line 
Sporadic records indicated by crosses (X); areas where status is unknown or doubtful, 

by interrogation marks (?) 




The migration of this species presents no peculiarities. Traveling in large flocks they leave their 
winter quarters apparently in the middle of March, reaching Mongolia toward the end of the same 
month or in early April (Prjevalski, 1878) . In Dauria and the vicinity of Lake Baikal they have been 
reported as arriving during the second half of x\pril (Taczanowski, 1893) and the middle of May 
(Taczanowski, 1873). Von Schrenck (1859) states that on the lower Amur they were first seen in 
late April and early May, but Radde (1863), speaking perhaps of regions farther to the west, gives 
the date of arrival as March 26. On the Suiffan and lower Ussuri Rivers they were seen in late 
March (Bolau, 1881) and Dorries (1888) says some stay as late as the end of May! But on Lake 
Hanka, according to Prjevalski (1878), they arrive during the second half of March and first half of 
April, none being seen after May 15. Farther north at the mouth of the Kolyma River they arrive 
as late as May 31 (Thayer and Bangs, 1914) and proceed to nest immediately, while on the Boganida, 
far in the northw'est, A. von Middendorff (1853) tells us they do not arrive before June 12, after 
which date they are found nesting. 

Practically no data are to be found concerning the autumn migration, excepting that they leave 
the Boganida by August 23 (A. von Middendorff, 1853) and pass Lake Baikal going south. In this 
connection Taczanowski (1893) remarks that these Teal are rarely observed in autumn, and that they 
pass very suddenly. We have no record of the occurrence of the species on Yezo or on the Kuriles, 
but it unquestionably passes over the former, and very probably occurs on the latter islands. 

The Formosan Teal has occurred a few times in India, usually in winter, specimens having 
been taken in Calcutta, 1844; Sultanpore near Delhi, 1879; Guzerat; and lastly in the Punjab, in 
Sind and in x\ssam (Hume and Marshall, 1879; Baker, 1908; Finn, 1909). Degland and Gerbe 
(1867) mention five specimens taken on the Saone, near Eperv^ans, in France in November, 1836, 
and one taken at Douai in 1841. Ghidini (Rev. Ital. di Omit., 1915) speaks of four records for Italy, 
one of which undoubtedly is that of an example shot at Modena in December, 1882. Recently a 
specimen was taken from a company of three, on the Island of Malta (Despott, 1917). In the Nether- 
lands it has been taken near Brussels in November, 1888 (Dubois, 1890), and at Groningen in March 
(Leege, 1910). More recently nine or ten specimens, said to have been taken in Limburg, were found 
in the Brussels Market, but these had probably been imported from China (Dubois, 1912), and of 
the other specimens the majority are very likely birds escaped from zoological gardens. Procter 
recorded a case of its nesting in Iceland in 1837, but it is diflicult to conceive of this record being 
true. Hantzsch (1905) suggests that the capture of four specimens in France in the preceding year 
may indicate a rather large flight in Europe, of which a few found their way to Iceland and possibly 
even bred. I am equally at a loss to explain the statement of Daniloff (1864) that the species siun- 
mers and breeds in the southeastern part of the Orel Government in central Russia. The author 
must unquestionably have mistaken the species. 


Haunts. Our information about the habits of this little duck is too meager to 
justify comparison with those of the European Teal. The Formosan Teal is cer- 
tainly not closely related to the true Teals, and the voice, general behavior and 
appearance are quite distinctive. According to a note by Dorries (1888) no other 
duck in the Ussuri region is seen so much in the dry fields, and it is also said to 
frequent rice-fields in China (Styan, 1891; Seebohm, 1892). I know of nothing 
really characteristic in its choice of surroundings. In the field the adult male is 
unmistakable, while the female is easily recognized by the white spot at the base 


of the culinen which is so prominent as to mark the bird instantly when among 
Common Teal. 

Wariness. So far as known this species is as wary as most other ducks in the 
same region. A. von Middendorff (1853) found it very shy when in flocks, but less so 
when paired; and in spite of the fact that it is a very common bird on the lower 
Yangtse, comparatively few are shot (Styan, 1891). 

Daily jNIovements. There are no special observations on its daily movements 
and I presume that it is similar to many other true ducks in being crepuscular in its 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. In its posture and movements there is nothing char- 
acteristic or remarkable. It never dives, and when on the water looks very like some 
of the other Teal. Finn (1915) referred to it as standing higher on its legs and run- 
ning more actively than the Common Teal and Garganey, but I cannot say that 
I ever noticed this. The bird is larger and heavier than the Common Teal and its 
legs are proportionally longer. 

Flight. No one has yet given a careful description of the flight either in the 
individual bird or in flocks. The birds usually live in companies of from fifteen to 
thirty (von Bunge, 1883; Ddrries, 1888) but in winter they collect in immense flocks 
on the lower Yangtse (Styan, 1891). I do not know whether the movements of a 
flock are as erratic and ploverlike as in the Common Teal {Anas crecca). 

Association with other Species. Judging from their behavior on enclosed 
waters I should say that these birds are very independent and slow to mingle with 
other water-fowl. The same trait seems to be characteristic in the field. Taczanow- 
ski (1893) says they rarely mingle with other species, and Styan (1891) tells us that 
on the lower Yangtse they are not found with the Common Teal. Radde (1863), 
how'ever, writing of the spring migration in the upper Amur country, says he once 
saw Formosan Teal resting on a bank with Mallard, Teal, Shovellers, Pintails and a 
few Widgeon. 

Voice. Any one who has visited collections of water-fowl in the spring can hardly 
have failed to hear the extraordinary note of the male Formosan Teal, which is en- 
tirely different from that of any other species. It is a very un-ducklike, dissyllabic 
note, which might be written wut-wot sometimes follow'ed by a more slowly uttered 
u'ot-wot-wot repeated ten to fifteen times when the bird is greatly excited. Others 
have transliterated this call as clock-clock, ruck-ruck or even mok-mok. There is a 



different quality to the two syllables, but the distinction is very subtle and impossible 
to describe. The female has a rather faint, but typically ducklike quack which is 
used as an alarm-note. Heinroth (1911) describes it as similar to that of the female 
Common Teal or female Yellow-billed Teal, a resounding quegquegquegquegqueg . 
The female has also been spoken of as occasionally bursting out “with a loud, harsh, 
jarring note, calling to mind the cry of some large Halcyon” (R. Swinhoe, 1867). I 
myself have never heard the female make any sound except when she was frightened 
or disturbed. 

The males are said to call even when on the wing (Prjevalski, 1878). The trachea 
of the male, as figured by Eyton (1838), has a dilatation at the bifurcation on the left 
side. It is very small and quite Teal-like. In my specimen it is only 10 mm. long 
by 7 mm. in breadth, scarcely the width of both bronchi. The trachea itself is 
simple in form and 140 mm. long. 

Food. I know of no analysis of food contents, and can only quote Seebohm’s 
(1892) note that in Tsushima hundreds of the birds are seen feeding in the rice-fields. 

Courtship and Nesting. The display in this species is described by Wormald 
(1907) and Finn (1915). The former says that when showing off “the drake lowers 
his head and then throws it up, at the same time elevating the feathers on the top 
of his head so that they appear almost like a crest, and muttering his note . . . 
which he keeps up for hours on end.” According to Finn the display is generally 
seen on land. He speaks of the bird erecting the plumage on its head so that this part 
seems larger than it really is, and then jerking the head back on the shoulders, cluck- 
ing vigorously. I have never seen my Formosan Teal throw the head back on the 
shoulders, but they do often throw out the feathers of the head and bob the head up 
and down. 

The breeding season appears to be rather late, though Baker (1908) says he has an 
egg in his collection taken in the Amur region on April 28. This date is, to say the 
least, very exceptional. In the Kolyma delta, Mr. J. Koren, collecting for Thayer and 
Bangs (1914) took an egg from the oviduct of a female that was ready for laying on 
June 7. Sets of fresh eggs were taken on June 19, 22, and 27. Riley (1918) records 
a clutch from the same region, which, on July 9, was five or six days ineubated. 
A. von Middendorff (1853) found fresh eggs on the lower Amur on July 3, and on 
the lower Jana eggs were found in early June, and young almost fledged on July 26 
(von Bunge and Toll, 1887). 

The nest is often placed in a dry situation. One of those described by Thayer and 
Bangs (1914) was under the drooping branch of a larch tree, another in a patch of 
creeping willow on a grassy hillside at the edge of a forest, while a third was well 
concealed in a pile of driftwood on an island in the delta of the Kolyma. Riley (1918) 



describes one from the same region that was on a “niggerhead” in an open swamp, 
one hundred yards from a pond. 

So few nests have been listed that it is impossible to give the average number of 
eggs for a full clutch. It seems, however, to be rather less than for either the Com- 
mon Teal or the Mallard; it is perhaps eight, the maximum ten (Pallas, 1831). The 
eggs are like those of the Common Teal, but somewhat larger than the Garganey’s; 
in color they are pale grayish green and very similar to the IVIallard’s (Taczanowski, 
1893). The average size of twenty-two eggs is 48.67 by 34.48 mm., the maximum 
length 52.5 mm., and the maximum breadth 36 mm., the minimum being 45 and 
32.5 mm., respectively. The period of incubation is unknown. During this period 
the males evidently flock together and change their location as soon as incubation 
is well started. Von Bunge (1883) writing of the mouth of the Lena says the males ap- 
peared there and became common after June 18. The females, which were occa- 
sionally found, seemed to be non-breeding birds, as the region is W'ell north of the 
actual breeding range. A northward excursion beyond the breeding range is prob- 
ably a common phenomenon with many ducks, and one has to use great caution 
in constructing an accurate map of the breeding area on this account. 

Status. This is a very abundant species throughout northeastern Siberia. 
There it seems to equal, if not to exceed in numbers, the commoner shoal-water 
ducks. At the mouth of the Kolyma it is the commonest breeding surface-feeding 
duck (Thayer and Bangs, 1914). It is more common than the Mallard or Common 
Teal in the Amur region (von Schrenck, 1859) and in the Ussuri country it was 
third in number among the ducks (Ddrries, 1888). On its wintering grounds in the 
Yangtse basin, Styan (1891) says comparatively few are shot considering the great 
numbers of them, but in the Ningpo Market, R. Swinhoe (1873) found them about 
as common as the Mallard, Spot-bill, Teal, Shoveller, Pintail, Widgeon and Falcated 

Enemies. Nothing recorded. 

Damage. Nothing recorded. 

Food Value. This Teal is said by H. A. Walton (1903) to be good eating. 

Hunt. These birds were imported into European markets from China (Ghidini, 
1911) but only in small quantities. They are probably trapped with ease by the 
Chinese, considering the numbers that have been imported alive into this country, 
into Europe and even into Australia. 



Behavior in Captivity. This Teal was imported into England at an early date, 
and bred in the London Gardens in the years 1840, 1841, 1842 and 1843. P. L. 
Sclater (1880) thinks it did so even earlier on the Earl of Derby’s estate at Knowsley. 
The species was then lost, and was not re-introduced in the London Gardens until 
1867, and to my knowledge it has not again bred there. In more recent times Earl 
Grey of Falloden (in Iht.) succeeded in rearing them, but none of his young birds 
showed any disposition to nest. Millais (1913) states that a pair bred on the estate 
of Sir Richard Graham at Netherby in 1912 and succeeded in rearing a fine brood. 
They are supposed to have flown from Mr. Maurice Portal’s ponds at Hexham in 
Northumberland, where there were several full-winged pairs. 

Mr. Seth-Smith of the London Gardens told me of a pair in Regents Park that 
laid a single egg and then deserted the nest. Lord William Percy spoke of breeding 
them in Northumberland, but Mr. Blaauw of Holland has never had any luck with 
this Teal. 

In Holland the species was first induced to nest in 1872 and again in 1873 by 
Polvliet of Rotterdam (Geoffroy St. Hilaire, 1872, 1873). He paid 440 francs for 
this pair, which laid six eggs, all infertile. Subsequently Courtois (1880) got a pair 
to lay after he had had them four or five years, and in 1881 (Courtois, 1881) this pair 
laid eight eggs, which the female incubated. Six were reared. In the Berlin Gardens 
it apparently did not breed until 1914 (Heinroth, 1915a). 

So far as I can discover the Formosan Teal has never been bred in this country 
It is one of the most attractive of the small ducks, and is a great addition to any 
collection of water-fowl. However, it must be classed among the more difficult species 
to breed in captivity, and undoubtedly the best results are to be obtained from full- 
winged birds. 

Until about the year 1910 these Teal were always scarce in the dealers’ shops. 
Wormald (1907) mentions the price of £50 having been asked for a pair, and Miss 
Rose Hubbard (1907) was told that when first imported they brought £20 to £30 a 
pair; but by 1907 the price had dropped to five guineas and upward. About 1911 it 
became one of the commonest water-fowl imported into Europe, and the price be- 
came correspondingly low. At the same time they were being imported in large num- 
bers from Shanghai to Australia, as many as three hundred going on one ship. 
Similar consignments were shipped on every voyage. In 1914 the price in this 
country had dropped as low as $6.00 per pair, and so many were brought to San 
Francisco that they could not be disposed of. During the War no birds reached this 
coimtry, but in the years 1919-20 some forty -four were recorded as having arrived 
in San Francisco. 

The few pairs I have kept showed themselves hardier than Blue-winged or even 
Green-winged Teal. Twenty-one specimens in the London Gardens averaged four 
years, and the maximum length of life was twelve and a half years. 



It is interesting to note that captive males come into eclipse later than most other 
ducks. In my pond on July 12, Widgeon, Mallard, Red-heads and Carolina Ducks 
were far advanced toward perfect eclipse, but three Formosan males had apparently 
not shed a single feather. 

Hybrids. One hybrid has been recorded (Anas formosa x Anas penelope) and 
it is not certain whether this was wild-killed or artificially reared (Van Kempen, 
1890). I saw in the Tring Museum the product of a cross between this and the 
Common Teal bred at Regents Park, London. 



(Plate 34) 


Anas punctata Cuvier, MS.; Lesson {nec Burchell), Traite d’Ornith., p. 634, 1831. 
Mareca castanea Eyton, Monograph Anatidse, p. 119, pi. 22, 1838. 

Mareca punctata G. R. Gray, List Birds British Mus., vol. 4, p. 134, 1844. 
Querquedula punctata Lichtenstein, Nomenclator Avium Mus. BeroL, p. 102, 1854. 
Anas castanea A. Newton, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1871, p. 649, note. 

Virago castanea Stejneger, Standard Nat. Hist., vol. 4, p. 145, 1885. 

Nettion castaneum Salvador!, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 252, 1895. 

Vernaculae Names 

English: Chestnut-breasted Teal, Green-headed Teal, Australian Teal. 

German: Kastanien-Ente, Australische Krickente. 


Adult Male : Head and neck dark glossy green. Mantle and scapulars black, the feathers edged with 
lighter color. Rump and tail nearly black. Breast and abdomen chestnut, with round black spots, 
more numerous on abdomen. Spots on the sides and flanks larger. On the lower flank is a whitish- 
buff band, bordering exteriorly the black under tail-coverts. Outer wing-coverts brown, except the 
last row which are white. Speculum black, except for two or three feathers which are metallic 
copper-colored and green. There is a posterior white speculum-band; primaries brown. Under wing- 
coverts brown and white; axillars white. 

“Bill bluish lead-color, nail and the edges of the upper mandible black, the under mandible 
crossed near the tip by a band of reddish flesh-color ; Lrides hazel ; feet lead-color, with the membranes 
of a somewhat darker hue” (Gould). According to Mathews the iris is “blood-red.” 

Wing 205-219 mm. (according to Mathews up to 223 mm.); tarsus 36-40; culmen 38-41, 
Weight up to 3 pounds, 1 ounce per pair according to Keartland (1890). Males from 17 to 19 
ounces (0.48 to 0.53 kilograms) (W. B. Alexander, 1916, p. 29). 

Adult Female: Top of head black, with light edges to some of the feathers. Sides of head paler, 
thickly streaked with black. Chin and throat paler, nearly immaculate. Upper parts dark brown, 
the feathers edged with gray or brown. Lower parts brown with black spots formed by the centers 
of the feathers. Under tail-coverts darker than abdomen. Wing as in male. Colors of soft parts same 
as in male (?). 

Wing 191-205 mm.; bill 36-37; tarsus 34-36. 

Immature Female: Resembles adult female, but the black markings on the feathers of the breast 
are absent (Blaauw, 1916). 



Immature Male: At first like female, but about the time when the young female begins to assume 
the black breast-spots, the young male becomes black on the throat (Blaauw, 1916). According to 
Mathews the speculum is green, and not coppery red. 

Male in Plumage: It does not seem to be knoMTi just how much of an eclipse plumage is 
assumed. Mr. Blaauw thinks that the adult males “go back” in color a good deal after the breeding 
season, and for a while the bright colors are clouded over, even the white areas being less bright. It is 
indeed a curious fact that males in adult plumage should be so uncommon in this species, and really 
fine specimens are rare in museums. 

Young in Down: Very like the Mallard and the Common Teal and about the same color above and 
below, although some specimens at Tring appeared very dark above and nearly pure white under- 
neath. It is to be distinguished from the young of the ^lallard by a very broad superciliary buff- 
colored stripe running back nearly to the occiput. The trans-ocular stripe is usually broader and 
blacker than in the Mallard and extends farther forward. There is usually a well-marked face streak 
from near the bill to the aural region, but sometimes this is irregular or poorly defined. The light- 
colored body spots are the same as in the Common Teal or the Mallard. The nestling of this species 
is said to be darker than the yoimg of the Gray Teal, Anas gibberifrons. 



The confusion between this species and the Gray Teal (Anas gibberifrons), which so long occupied 
ornithologists, makes it almost impossible to determine the range with any degree of accuracy. Not 
only many of the older records, but also a number of the more recent ones, undoubtedly refer to the 
Gray Teal. 

The present species probably does not occur outside Australia, Tasmania and possibly New Zea- 
land. Earlier writers have recorded it from such diverse localities as Java, Celebes, Sumba, New 
Caledonia and New Guinea, but Meyer and Wiglesworth (1898) who discuss the various references 
to these places, conclude (and I think rightly) that all of these records refer to Alias gibberifrons, 
which is practically indistinguishable from the females of Anas castanea. 

In Australia this species does not seem to be anywhere very common. It appears to be essentially 
a coastal bird and is rarely, if ever, found in any numbers inland. Carter (in Mathews, 
1914-15) reported thousands on Lake Muir, West Australia, but in a more recent 
West article (Carter and Mathews, 1920) they speak of it as very scarce there in 1916. Carter 

Australia north of Carnarvon. Other records for West Australia are 

those for Moora (Orton and Sandland, 1913), for the Houtman Rocks (R. Hall, 1902) and Bremer 
Bay (W. B. Alexander, 1916). C. G. Gibson (1909) took one at Belladonia and saw some thirty birds 
on the reef near Eyre. Farther north Carter (1910) met with it in some numbers on the Northwest 
Cape and found it also on the Salt (Pallenup) River, southeast of Broome Hill (fide Mathews, 1914- 
15). Ramsay (1888) has recorded the species for Derby, and Soderberg (1919) met with it in Decem- 
ber on the Fitzroy River near Nooncanbah. 

There seem to be no records for the north coast of Australia, and even in Queensland it has not 
been recorded from any place north of Rockingham Bay. Ramsay (1888) mentions this as well as 
Port Denison and Wide Bay as specific localities where it was found in Queensland, 
and Ingram (1908) met with this Teal at Inkerman Station, North Queensland. It 
is said to be common at Peel Island which I have been imable to locate on the map (Agnew, 1921). 

It is a more common bird in New South Wales and has been recorded for the Richmond and Clar- 
New South ence River districts (Ramsay, 1888; Savidge, in North, 1913), the Mossgiel district 
Wales (Bennett, in North, 1913), and is said to be a common breeder in the Mudgee dis- 

trict (Cox and Hamilton, 1889). R. Hall (1909) says it breeds in the Murray River region. The U.S. 


INIap 48. Distribution of Chestnut-breasted Teal (Anas castanea) 
Sporadic record indicated by cross (X); questionable record by interrogation mark (?) 




National Museum has specimens from Bathurst and Tamworth. Sometimes it is common in the 
ponds in Sydney itself (A. S. Le Souef and Macpherson, 1920) and it is common to the extreme 
southeastern part of the country. 

In Victoria the species was formerly common (North, 1913) and it still seems to be so in certain 
districts such as Gippsland (Bennett, in North, 1913) though not plentiful about Mel- 
bourne (Keartland, in North, 1913). Miss Cheney called it frequent in the Wangaratta 
district (1915). 

It is far less known in South Australia, where it does not breed commonly (Mellor, in Mathews, 
1914-15). It has been reported from Kellidie Bay, Eyre Peninsula (R. Hall, 1910) and South 
the U.S. National Museum has specimens from Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island. Australia 

On King Island, Bass Straits, the species seems to be a not uncommon nesting bird (A. G. Camp- 
bell, 1905) and the same is true of Tasmania, where it has been met with in numerous 
localities (Gould, 1865; Littler, 1910; Legge, 1905; Holden, in North, 1913). 

Hutton and Drummond (1905) state that it breeds in the North Island of New Zealand, but that 
it is only occasional in the South Island (this probably refers to Anas gibberifrons) . I New 
know of no specific records excepting the one given by Buller (1905) for the Aorere Zealand 
River, where a pair were taken on June 1. 



We know little of the habits of the Chestnut-breasted Teal, partly because it is a 
rare bird through most of its range, and partly because it has been so generally con- 
fused with the Slender or Gray Teal. The chief differences in the appearance and 
habits of the two species are as follows : in the first place, the present species is larger 
in both sexes, and the adult males have a strikingly brilliant sex-plumage. The male 
Chestnut-breasted Teal never has the bony frontal knob found in all old male speci- 
mens of the Gray Teal. Repeated experiments have shown that the present species 
breeds perfectly true, and all the males attain to full plumage in four or five months. 
When crossed with the Gray Teal, Blaauw {in litt.) found the resulting males to be 
intermediate between males of the two species (see under Hybrids) . 

A full discussion of the confusion and controversy concerning this and the next 
species is given by Mathews in his sumptuous work on Australian birds. I believe, 
in common with most others who have looked into the question, that he is entirely 
wrong in thinking that the female of this species ever, except perhaps for pathologi- 
cal reasons, assumes the male plumage. 

The principal characteristics of the present species in the field are : its preference 
for the coastal regions, or, in the interior, its liking for high rocky shores, a trait 
which has given it the name of Mountain Teal in certain localities. It is also said 
to frequent large sheets of water in preference to swamps and morasses. The two 
species are only accidentally fovmd together, and the nesting haunts seem to be 
quite distinct. 

Wariness. It is said to be extremely wary and difficult to shoot, especially in- 
land where it is much sought for by sportsmen (North, 1913). 



Daily Movements. No information. 

Gait, Swimming, and Diving. The bird is said to be very fond of perching on 
boulders along rocky coasts (S. A, White, 1914b). 

Flight. The flight has been described as powerful and strong, and according to 
Savidge (in North, 1913) the bird looks much larger on the wing than when ex- 
amined in the hand. This is characteristic, I think, of all Teal. 

The flocks are always small, and S. A. White (1914b) says a dozen is the greatest 
number he has ever seen in any one locality. In only one place have they been re- 
ported as occurring in large numbers — Carter (1910) says he has seen thousands 
on Lake Muir, West Australia. 

Association with other Species. It is not commonly found mixed with the 
Gray Teal, but in Tasmania a few have been seen in flocks of Australian Black Duck 
(Legge, 1905). 

Voice. There is a large osseous bulla on the trachea of the male, which is not 
present in the female (Ramsay, 1878). The confusion caused by A. Newton’s (1871) 
statement that the female also has an enlargement was due to the fact that the 
supposed females turned out later to be males of Anas gibberifrons. 

Food. No analyses of stomach contents have been reported on, so far as I know. 
R. Hall (1909) states that they feed largely on small red beetles that they pick from 
the blades of water-weeds, and that they avoid spiders. 

Mr. Arthur M. Lea has kindly sent me the analysis of a stomach collected at 
Nannum in February. It contained many aquatic larvae of insects, several small 
water-boatmen bugs, a small water-beetle, Berosus australioe, and much coarse 

Courtship and Nesting. The display has never been described, and a pair in 
the New York Gardens has shown no sex activities. The breeding season cannot be 
definitely determined from the small number of nests actually found. No doubt it 
extends throughout the entire year, and is as irregular as with other Australian species. 
Carter (1904) took young in down on Northwest Cape on July 21, and North (1913) 
says August and the four following months constitute the usual breeding season in 
southern Australia and Tasmania. On the Murray River it is said to be the earliest 
duck to pair and nest (R. Hall, 1909), but of course it is a very rare duck there and 
it is doubtful if many nests have actually been taken. 

On the Northwest Cape, Carter and Mathews (1920) say that it nests in the 

Plate 34 


Male Female Male 



scrub and herbage around the mangrove swamps. A. J. Campbell (1901) states that 
it usually nests in hollow trees, but oceasionally on the ground in grass or other 
herbage in the vicinity of water. Two nests described by North (1913) taken on the 
northwest coast of Tasmania, were situated on the ground between “earth-growing 
dwarf tea-trees,” near the water. There is usually a plentiful supply of down, which 
is dark, each particle being whitish in the center with light-colored tips. A. J. 
Campbell (1901) thinks this down slightly darker than that of the Gray Teal. 

The clutches vary from seven to thirteen, the average being nine or ten. In color 
the eggs are of a rich cream, measuring from 49-53 by 36.8-38.6 mm. The incuba- 
tion period is not known, but it is probably not far from twenty-three days. 

We do not know what becomes of the male during and after incubation, or whether 
he regularly assumes an eclipse plumage. I am inclined to think that a full eclipse 
is not assumed in the wild bird, although there are indications of it in captivity 
under northern climatic conditions. 

Status. An idea of the rarity of this species may be obtained from the account 
of the distribution. Mr. Edwin Ashby of Blackwood, South Australia, who has 
kindly written me in detail about the water-fowl, refers to a Mr. Mann who in all his 
life spent on the Murray River had only taken it once or twice. Mr. Ashby himself 
had shot it once, and seen a few others in the same district. In April, 1920, he heard 
of a dozen for sale in a shop at Hobart, but he was imable to verify the information 
given him. 

Mr. Belchambers writes me that they are now almost (?) gone from the lower 
Murray, and at Minnie Downs Mr. L. Reese (in Hit) says he has never seen it. 
There seems to be some reason to suppose that in earlier days it was more plentiful in 
Victoria (North, 1913), but older accounts of the two species are so confused that 
we can get little idea of the actual numbers of this bird. It most certainly does not 
represent more than one per cent of the combined population of the two species of 
Teal in Australia. Most of the recent notes of its occurrences in the principal 
Australian bird journal. The Emu, speak of the bird as occasional, but in several 
localities such as Wangaratta district of Victoria, around Sydney, and at Peel Isle, 
Queensland, it is reported as frequent. 

Enemies. Probably the same as those mentioned under the Australian Black 
Duck (Anas superciliosa). 

Damage. None. 

Food Value. “The flesh is tender and excellent eating” (Savidge, in North, 



Hunt. The species is too scarce to be spoken of as a game bird, and should be 
protected by law, if such a thine were practical, which is doubtful. 

Beha\tor in Captivity. This is everywhere a rare species in confinement. It 
was procured by the London Gardens in 1870 (P. L. Sclater, 1880) but did not breed 
until recent years. Mr. D. Seth-Smith, Curator of Birds, has favored me with an 
account of his experiences with these Teal. In 1908 he brought home from Tasmania 
two pairs. One pair died soon after arrival, but the other pair has since bred freely, 
and the only fresh blood which has been introduced to keep up the stock was another 
typical red-breasted male from Tasmania. The young males all came into full 
plumage the first year and there has been no exception to this rule. A distinct 
seasonal eclipse is assumed by individual males, but Mr. Seth-Smith is a little un- 
certain whether this plumage is not sometimes “missed”; at least there was some 
irregularity about its assumption. Among English amateurs this species has, so far 
as I know, been bred only by Mr. Wormald and by Mr. St. Quintin. The latter 
reared a brood in 1918 which escaped (London Field, vol. 133, p. 12, 1919). Some 
of these nested when only one year old. 

On the Continent the Chestnut-breasted Teal was recorded as having bred in the 
Gardens at Tours as early as 1883 (Noenty, 1884). In recent years it has been 
several times bred and reared by Mr. Blaauw on his estate at Gooilust, Holland. 
He notes that the males assume the adult plumage when five or six months old, the 
first change being that the throat becomes black. The females acquire the spots on 
the under side at the same period. Mr. Blaauw (1916) does not consider the males 
as having exactly an eclipse plumage, but “they go back in colour a good deal after 
the breeding season, and, for a while, the bright colours are clouded over — even the 
white spots are less bright.” 

There is a beautiful pair of this species in the New York Gardens, but as far as 
I know they have never been bred in this country. 

Hybrids. Crosses are recorded between this species and the Brazilian Teal 
{Anas brasiliensis) (Poll, 1911), and with the Gray Teal (Anas gibberifrons) . This 
latter cross was made by Mr. Blaauw, who writes me that the result was “an inter- 
mediate thing.” The hybrid males have the chestnut breast only slightly developed 
and no glossy, purple-greenish heads like the pure male castanea. The white spots 
near the tail are clouded over. I think the results of this mating with the Gray 
Teal are very interesting, and good evidence, if any more was needed, that the two 
species are perfectly distinct. 

I saw specimens at Tring which came from Regents Park, the result of crossing 
this Teal with the Yellow-billed Teal (Anas flavirostris) . 


(Plate 34) 


Anas (Mareca) gibberifrons S. Muller, Verhand. Land- en Volkenk., p. 159, 1839-44. 
Mareca gibberifrons G. R. Gray, Genera of Birds, vol. 3, p. 1(34, 1845. 

Querquedula gibberifrons Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 650, 

?Anas punctata, var., G. R. Gray, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1859, p. 166. 

Anas gibbifrons Wallace, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1863, p. 487. 

Anas muta S. Miiller,^de Schlegel, Mus. d’Hist. Nat. des Pays-Bas, Anseres, p. 58, 

Anas gracilis Buller, Ibis, ser. 2, vol. 5, p. 41, 1869. 

Mareca castanea Marie {nec Eyton), Actes Soc. Linneenne de Bordeaux, vol. 27, 
p. 328, 1870. 

Nettion gibberifrons G. R. Gray, Hand-list Birds British Mus., vol. 3, p. 83, 1871. 
Anas (Virago) castanea Ramsay, Proc. Linn. Soc, New South Wales, vol. 2, p. 200, 
1877 (part). 

Virago gibberifrons White, South Austr. Ornith., vol. 1, p. 11, 1914. 

Additional synonymy under Geographical Races. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Slender Teal, Gray Teal, Wood Teal, Oceanic Teal, Mountain Teal. 
German: Weisskehlige Ente. 

Maori: Tete, Tete-moroiti, Pohoriki. 


Adult Male: Similar to the adult female of Anas castanea, and not certainly to be distinguished 
from that species, except by its smaller size. Probably nearly all old males have the characteristic 
bony protuberance on the forehead, but in a large series of twenty-eight males from Celebes in the 
United States National Museum, only six or eight are easily distinguished by this character. Anas 
castanea never has the bony protuberance. Many of these Celebes birds are darkly stained on the 
under parts and on the cheeks, but light-colored birds occur there, as well as in Java and Australia. 
There remains therefore only one test, and that is size. 

Iris brown. Upper mandible of a bluish lead-color, mottled with black; lower mandible with the 
basal half and tip of a lead-color, the rest of the terminal portion orange-yellow. Legs of an oliva- 
ceous-slate color (Ogilvie-Grant, 1910). 

Wing 175-206 mm. (according to Mathews); bill 36-39; tarsus 33-37. 

Weight: Keartland (1890) gives the weight of the Gray Teal as 2 pounds 3 ounces per pair, as 



against 3 pounds for the Chestnut-breasted Teal. In the present species the male weighed 1 pound 
2 ounces (0.51 kilograms), and the female 1 pound 1 ounce (0.48 kilograms). It is therefore a con- 
siderably lighter bird than Anas castanea. 

Adtilt Female: Like the male in all respects, and very nearly as large, but always lacking the bony 
protuberance on the forehead. In a series from Celebes which I measured the females ran from 165 
to 185 mm. in the wing, as against 175 to 190 mm. in the males. Measurements given by Mathews 
show also that the females are of nearly the same size as the males. Soft parts are the same in color 

Immature Specimens: Probably with less conspicuous markings on breast. 

Downy Young: A specimen in the U.S. National Museum taken in Celebes, August 4, 1917, is brown 
on the upper side and silver white below. Pileum almost black. A short superciliary light line and a 
dark stripe run through and beyond the eye. Under this a light stripe runs back to near the ear. A 
dark aural patch is present below this. Chin and throat buffy, separated from the breast by a sharply 
marked dark line. According to Mathews the yoimg are lighter colored than those of Anas castanea, 
and the few specimens which I have seen bear this out. 


Key Islands 
Aru Islands 
New Guinea 

On account of the general confusion between this species and Anas castanea it is almost impossible to 
fix with any degree of accuracy the range of either. Ornithologists are generally agreed that it is 
this species that inhabits the islands of the South Pacific, as well as Australia and New Zealand. 

The westernmost limit of its range seems to be western Java, where it has been taken in the 
Batavia and Kramat districts (Vorderman, 1883). It is said to occur also in Borneo 
(Vorderman, 1887) and it is certainly very common in Celebes (Walden, 1872; W. 
Blasius, 1886; A. B. Meyer and Wuglesworth, 1898; U.S. National Museum; etc., etc.). 
Specimens have also been taken on Saleyer Island (Hartert, 1896b), Sumba (Hartert, 
1896, 1898a), Flores (Wallace, 1863a), Timor (Hartert, 1898c), Wetter (Hartert, 
1904a), Little Key Islands (Hartert, 1903, p. 254) and in the Aru group (Riedel, 
fiAe A. B. Meyer and Wiglesworth, 1898). Nothing is known of its status in Dutch 
or (former) German New Guinea, but in the southeastern part it is said to be fairly 
common about Port Moresby and South Cape (Ramsay, 1879). It was reported from New Cale- 
donia by Verreaux and Des Murs (Rev. et Mag. Zool., ser. 2, vol. 12, p. 442, 1860) but apparently 
no collector has taken it on those islands since their time (Brasil, 1916). 

In Australia the Gray Teal is widely distributed and in many sections common. In W’est 
West Australia it is common at Moora (Orton and Sandland, 1913) and on the Wongan 

Australia Hills (Milligan, 1904). A few were seen on Lake Muir, and young were taken on the 

Minilya River (Carter and Mathews, 1920). In northwestern Australia it seems to be quite abundant 
(Ogilvie-Grant, 1910). Carter (1904) found it common on Northwest Cape, S. A. White (1915) took 
a few near the Alberga River, Hartert (1905) has recorded it for the Alligator River, for Derby and 
for Condon Road, while Heartland (North, 1898) found it the commonest duck and breeding on the 
Fitzroy River. Ramsay (1888) states that it is found on the Gulf of Carpentaria, and Ingram (1907) 
took specimens in the vicinity of Alexandra Station (19° south latitude, 136° east longitude). The 
species is apparently not found in the Cape York district of Queensland, but it is very 
common on the lakes at Sedan and Byromine (Macgillivray, 1914), on the Herbert 
River (Broadbent, 1910) and in the Richmond district (Berney, 1907). Ramsay (1888) 
has recorded it for the W’ide Bay district. In New South Wales it is a very common 
bird (North, 1913). Ramsay (1888) has recorded it for the Clarence and Richmond 
River region and the interior, and Austin (1907) says great flocks arrive on the Talbragar River in 


New South 

Map 49. Distribution of Gray Teal {Anas gibberifrons) 
Sporadic records indicated by crosses (X) 



wet seasons. In Victoria also it is very common (Batey, 1907; A. C. Stone, 1912), while in South 
Australia it is a well-known bird at least in the eastern part. S. A. White (1914a) says it is far less 
common than formerly on the lower Murray River, but Mellor (in Mathews, 1914-15) South 
says thousands are brought to the Adelaide Market. On Lakes Albert and Alexandrina Australia 
it is fairly common (S. A. White, 1913) and it has been found far in the interior, common and breed- 
ing at Dalhousie (S. A. MTiite, 1914) and a few on Cooper Creek (S. A. White, 1917). Recent con- 
tributors to The Emu, 1915-1922, show it to be still abundant in nearly all the watered regions of 
Australia from Victoria to the extreme west of the continent. 

In Tasmania this species is quite common (Littler, 1910; and others). Tasmania 

Its status in New Zealand is not wholly clear. Buller (1888) regards it as a rather rare bird, and got 
most of his from the Province of Wellington. If Hutton and Drummond’s (1905) New 
statement about Anas castanea refers to the present species it may be said that it Zealand 
breeds in the North Island, but occurs only occasionally in the South Island. According to W. W. 
Smith (1889) it is a common bird in parts of the Lake Brunner region (South Island). 


Haunts. It is not necessary to enter into the time-honored discussion concerning 
the systematic position of this and the Chestnut-breasted Teal. A full account of the 
facts in the case may be found in Mathews (1914-15). The present species has been 
bred in captivity, and there can no longer be any doubt as to its validity, though con- 
fusion in the field is unavoidable. 

The Gray Teal, which seems to be second only to the Australian Black Duck in 
abundance, is found aU over Australia on fresh-water creeks, rivers, lagoons and 
swamps, as well as on the salt-lakes, and on the seacoast. 

Waeiness. This Teal is described by North (1913) as “exceedingly tame and 
easy to approach before disturbed by too much shooting.” In places where not much 
shot the old birds will bring the young to the water-tanks close by the houses, and 
they become very tame (Carter, in Mathews, 1914-15). Gould (1865) found it 
extremely tame on the little-visited rivers of South Tasmania and in these localities it 
never failed to come flying back down the river over the heads of the party, as they 
were working up the streams in boats. 

Daily Movements. No information. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. Nothing of interest has been recorded. 

Flight. The flight is rapid, but no faster than that of many other ducks. The 
white bar, anterior to the speculum, is said to be a conspicuous field-mark when the 
bird is on the wing (Mellor, in Mathews, 1914-15; Austin, in North, 1913). Gould 
(1865) considered it less active on the wing than the European Teal. It is a very 
gregarious bird and is frequently seen in large flocks, aggregating thousands. 



Association with other Species. Keartland (in North, 1913) says the Gray 
Teal frequently associates with ducks of other species. Flocks of Gray Teal are 
sometimes accompanied by Chestnut-breasted Teal. 

Voice. There is no adequate account of the call-notes in the two sexes. The 
female, it seems, utters a quick, sharp, quacking note, repeated six or eight times. 
According to Mellor (in Mathews, 1914-15) it sounds like cack-cack-cack, and is 
most commonly heard from birds on the wing at night. The male’s note he de- 
scribes as a “sharp little whistle, repeated in a jerky fashion in answering his mate.” 

The trachea of the male has a distinct membranous pouch not very different 
from that of the Mallard. It was figured by A. Newton (1871) who thought he was 
dealing with a female of Anas castanea. 

Food. The food of this species has not yet been much studied. A few notes in 
the pages of The Emu and some unpublished MS. sent to me by Mr. Arthur M. Lea 
show that they take both animal and vegetable matter. Minute mollusks resembling 
a Cantharadis, other “river shells” and numerous “dock” seeds make up the list. 

Courtship and Nesting. We do not know whether there is a definite type of 
display comparable to that characteristic of many northern ducks. As with all 
Australian ducks the breeding season is so irregular that no generalization is possible. 
Eggs have been taken in every month of the year, but the bulk of the nesting takes 
place after an unusually heavy rainfall, wherever surface water stays for any 
length of time. In eastern Australia, August and the four following months con- 
stitute the usual breeding season (North, 1913), and in West Australia it is said to 
nest later than the Australian Black Duck (Carter, in Mathews, 1914-15). In the 
Moree district of New South Wales it nests for fully nine months (F. C. Morse, 1922). 

Wherever trees are available this Teal prefers to nest in hollow branches or 
trunks, especially in various species of gum trees. These nests may be twenty feet 
above the ground, and often are some distance from the water. Lacking these ele- 
vated situations the birds will nest on the ground, sometimes under a bush at a 
distance from the water, at other times in rushes or reeds near the edge of a swamp 
(North, 1913). 

The clutch may vary from five to twelve eggs, the average being seven or eight, 
and the maximum fourteen (Macgillivray, 1914; A. C. Stone, 1912). As many as 
seventeen eggs have been found in one nest. The eggs are of a uniform cream color, 
close-grained and smooth. In size they vary from 47.5-51.6 by 34.8-38.6 mm. The 
incubation period is unknown. The male probably accompanies the brood after 
hatching. At least I am led to infer this from Carter’s notes (in Mathews, 1914-15) 
concerning broods seen about his house. Among other things he says that he saw 



four young birds flying with their adults. In another place he speaks of a brood of 
small young in down with the parents on one of his tanks. 

Status. Enough has been said under Distribution to enable the reader to form 
a general idea as to their abundance. In some places they even exceed the Australian 
Black Duck in numbers, and in many localities they appear to be at least second in 
abundance. They are sent to the markets of Adelaide in thousands (Mellor, in 
Mathews, 1914-15) and are said to be stiU very numerous in the interior of South 
Australia (S. A. White, 1914). In North’s (1913) opinion there has been no apparent 
diminution in numbers in New South Wales, where it is the most plentiful of all 
ducks, but on the lower Murray River it has diminished very greatly in recent years, 
and there is now only one where there were five hundred twenty years ago (S. A. 
White, 1914). A correspondent of mine, Mr. Belchambers, in a recent letter, con- 
firms this observation. 

Enemies. The enemies of Australian ducks have been discussed in connection 
with the Australian Black Duck {Anas superciliosa). North (1913) says the young 
of the Teal are preyed upon by water-rats. Black-cheeked Falcons and Harriers. 
The Whistling Eagle {Haliastur sphenurus) is said to be very fond of them (D. Le 
Souef, 1918a). The introduced enemies, including the fox, domestic cat, and ferret, 
are necessarily important factors in determining the future standing of this and other 
Australian species. One cannot help having grave misgivings as to the future of aU 
birds on that ornithologically unhappy continent. 

Food Value. The Gray Teal is an excellent bird for the table, and as aforesaid, 
great numbers are sold in the markets. 

Hunt. “ The Blacks on the Darling River capture large numbers in nets made for 
the purpose, seventy -three being caught in one haul at which I was present” (Ben- 
nett, in North, 1913). 

Behavior in Captivity. This has been one of the more uncommon ducks in 
confinement in Europe, and particularly so in America. The London Gardens ac- 
quired eighteen specimens in 1879, but of these none bred until 1882 when four were 
hatched and reared (P. L. Sclater, 1882). Later they bred a number of times, hatch- 
ing their eggs in July. Among English amateurs the species has been bred by Mr. 
Wormald (in litt.). On the Continent it was successfully bred in Tours in 1883 
(Noenty, 1884). So far as I know it has never been bred in this country, and has 
been seldom acquired excepting by the New York Zoological Society. 

In England the price varied from £3 to £4 the pair before the War. In America 



the New York Gardens paid only $10.00 each before the War. Among a large col- 
lection of Australian birds imported in 1920 by E. S. Joseph these ducks were quoted 
at $30.00 the pair. 

Judging from longevity records of the London Gardens I should say that this 
Teal does very well in artificial conditions. The average length of life of eighteen 
specimens kept in those Gardens was six years three months, the maximum being 
seventeen years four months (P. C. Mitchell, 1911), both the average and the maxi- 
mum exceeding those for other species of Teal. 

Hybrids. The only wild hybrid of which I have any knowledge is a cross between 
this species and the Australian Shoveller {Spatula rhynchotis) described and figured 
by Zietz (1912). The crosses made by Mr. Blaauw between this species and the 
Chestnut-breasted Teal {Anas castanea) have already been mentioned under that 


A LARGE series of this species from Celebes have wngs from 175 to 190 mm. in the males. Four 
specimens from Java have wings up to 196 mm. Australian examples are said by Mathews to reach 
206, and even 209 mm., and they have been separated by him on this basis. It seems possible that 
Javan birds are just as large as those from Australia, and that specimens from Celebes are the 
smallest of all. 

Characters: Size small; wing 165-190 mm. 

Range: Celebes. 


Nettion casianeum rogersi Mathews, Austral Avian Record, vol. 1, p. 86, 1912. 

Virago castanea rogersi Mathews, List Birds Australia, p. 91, 1913. 

Virago gibberifrons rogersi Mathews, Birds of Australia, vol. 4, pt. 2, p. 102, 1915. 

Characters: Size large; wing up to 209 mm. 

Range: Australia and Tasmania. 

Note: The term rogersi for this race when referred to the genus Anas, becomes invalidated by 
its prior use for a race of Anas superciliosa. The name mathewsi is therefore proposed in its stead. 


(Plate 35) 


Anas capensis Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 527, 1788. 
Mareca capensis Stephens, General Zool., vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 139, 1824. 

Chauliodus capensis Swainson, Journ. Royal Inst. Gt. Britain, vol. 2, p. 19, 1831. 
Anas larvata Lesson, Traite d’Ornith., p. 634, 1831 {nomen nudum); Pucheran, Rev. 

et Mag. de Zool., ser. 2, vol. 2, p. 549, 1850 (descr.). 

Querquedula capensis Smith, Cat. South African Mus., p. 37, 1837. 

Pcecilonetta georgica G. R. Gray {nec Gmelin), List Birds British Mus., pt. 3, p. 134, 

Anas assimilis Forster, Descriptiones Animalium, p. 46, 1844. 

Chaulelasmus strepera, a. capensis Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 

43, p. 650, 1856. 

Querquedula larvata Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 650, 1856. 
Nettion capense Salvador!, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 259, 1895. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Cape Teal, Cape Widgeon, African Pink-billed Teal. 

German: Kapische Ente. 

Dutch: Teal-Eendje, Bruine-Eend, Kaapse Smee-Eend. 

Arabic: Boro. 


Adult IVIale : Head and neck whitish, dotted and streaked with blackish. Chin and throat nearly 
immaculate white. Mantle mottled black, white, and buff color. Scapulars dark brown edged with 
light gray or reddish brown. Back and rump grayish brown; tail gray, edged with whitish. Breast 
whitish with light-brown spots or bars. Flanks like the breast, but the spots larger. Rest of lower 
surface nearly white with indistinct spots of dull brown. Under tail-coverts barred with irregular 
brown spots. Wing-coverts dark gray, except the last row which carry a broad white anterior 
speculum band. Speculum glossy green in its center, but black on outer and inner border, and also 
posteriorly. The outer secondaries are pure white, and the tips of all are white, forming a broad 
white posterior speculum band. Primaries dark brown. Tertials brownish to grayish with lighter 
edges. Under wing-coverts brown, axillars nearly white, with the shaft of the feather black. 

Iris from light hazel to deep orange. According to Littledale the bill is a deep waxen semi- 
transparent pink with the base and edge of the upper mandible black, and an indistinct streak of 
turquoise extending from the base about two-thirds of the length of the culmen. H. A. Bryden (1893) 
gives the bill as “reddish-pink,” and Davies calls it a delicate waxy pink. Feet ochraceous fuscous. 

Wing 185-200 mm.; bill 38-40; tarsus 33-39. 



Adult Female; Similar to the male, but the spotting on the lower side not so well marked. The 
whole plumage is somewhat lighter in tone. 

Size smaller. Wing 190 mm.; bill 38; tarsus 36. 

Immature Specimens: Like adults in a general way, but the lower parts are streaked with poorly 
defined light-brown markings instead of having the barred appearance of later life. The mantle, 
scapulars and rump are duller in appearance and lack the sharply contrasted markings of adult 
plumage. The tail-feathers are blunt at the tips (British Museum specimens). 

Young in Down: WTiite in general color. Top of head, back of neck, cheeks, back and wings, abdo- 
men and upper tail-coverts grayish brown. A line through the eye and down the neck, another line 
from the wings to the base of the tail white. Domti of the wings, the tip of the tail, and the soft parts 
(?) somewhat rusty yellowish. Iris grayish white. Bill and feet bluish black (Sjbstedt, 1910). 


The Cape Teal is not a common bird, though it has a large range in Africa, which is being constantly 
extended by scientific exploration. Like most tropical ducks it is not migratory in the accepted sense 
of that term, though it moves about locally in response to seasonal conditions of rainfall. 

In the north its range extends as far as southern Abyssinia, where it has been taken on Lakes 
Haddo and Cialalaka (Salvador!, 1884), at Adda Galla (Giglioli, 1888), Lake Toki (Ogilvie-Grant 
and Reid, 1901) and at Hora Schale (Neumann, 1904). Collectors in this region have none of them 
found it common. 

Farther south it seems to be confined chiefly to the regions of the great lakes and the highlands. 
It is found in Uganda about Lake Nakuru (Hartert, 1900) and in British East Africa is said by 
V. G. L. van Someren (1916) to be common on Lake Naivasha. It is a pretty common bird and 
breeds throughout the Masai country, about the Merker Lakes and Mt. Meru (Schillings, 1905) ; and 
is described by Sjbstedt (1910) as quite common, especially in November, on the Natron Lakes in 
the Kilimandjaro region, where it breeds. Neumann (1898) has recorded it from Lake Manjara, 
and Bbhm (1885) seems to have taken a specimen near Uniamuesi on Lake Tanganyika. West of the 
great lakes the species has been found in the eastern Congo, at Rutshuru, north of Lake Albert Ed- 
ward, in August (Lonnberg, 1917), and in the Katanga region (southeastern Congo) in November 
(Mouritz, 1914). Shelley (1901) has recorded a specimen taken at Mbara in the Nyassa coimtry 
(British Central Africa). 

So far the species has not been recorded from Rhodesia, but Bryden (1893) found it on the Botletle 
River (northern Bechuanaland) and T. Ayres (1869) saw a few in the Transvaal. It has not been re- 
corded from Natal although C. G. Davies (1911) took one in East Griqualand, and C.H.T. Whitehead 
(1903) found it on the Orange River near Aliwal North. Littledale (1908) says it is fairly common 
and breeds on Van Wijks \flei near Carnarvon. Layard (1875-84) has recorded it from Beaufort 
West, Knyona and Vogel Vlei in Paarl, and the Novara Expedition met with it at Simons Town 
{fide Stark and Sclater, 1906). 

In Damaraland and Great Namaqualand, the Cape Teal is rather scarce, being most commonly 
seen about Walfisch Bay. Fleck {fide Reichenow, 1900) has recorded it from Rehoboth in the in- 
terior. Barboza de Bocage (1877-81) states that it is rarer on the coast south of Cunene, but that it 
was found on the coast of Mossamedes and on the Rio Coroco (Angola). How far north its range 
extends in West Africa I am not prepared to say. According to B. Alexander (1907) the species was 
seen occasionally on Lake Chad (!) during his stay there, and de Rochebrune (1883-85), whose state- 
ments cannot be accepted unless confirmed by other observations, says it appears pretty regularly 
in lower Senegambia! He gives various localities where, he alleges, it has been taken. 

Plate 35 





Haunts. This is one of the African ducks that has been least written about. Be- 
sides being everywhere an uncommon species, it has been often confused with the 
African Red-bill {Anas erythrorhyncha), from which it is distinguished with diffi- 
culty in the field. 

It seems to be a bird that frequents larger lakes rather than small water-holes or 
marshes. Neumann (1898) and also Littledale (1908) noted its partiality for salt- 
water lakes which other species were not so particular about. 

Wariness. From Littledale’s (1908) account one would conclude that this is a 
very confiding bird during the nesting season. He says, however, that it is sometimes 
very shy, excepting at dusk, when it becomes tame. 

Daily Movements. Littledale says that in the evening they sometimes flight, 
but this habit is, during the breeding season at least, of somewhat irregular occur- 
rence, not taking place every night. A pair which he observed spent the day in the 
middle of a large salt-pan. 

Swimming, Diving. Mouritz (1914) mentions a bird which submerged at his 
approach, instead of flying away ! 

Flight. Large flocks are apparently very rare, but Sjbstedt (1910) noted some 
flocks, both large and small, on the Natron Lakes (Kilimandjaro lowlands). 

In the held it can be told from the Red-billed Teal {A?ias erythrorhyncha) by the 
large amount of white showing in the wing. 

Association with other Species. Layard (1875-84) says he met it in com- 
pany of the Red-bill in Cape Colony. 

Voice. The only information regarding the note is that given by Littledale 
(1908) who says there are twm diflPerent calls: one a quack uttered wLen on the wdng, 
the other a “sort of short whistling note.” He does not distinguish the notes of the 
two sexes, but doubtless the whistle is the note of the male, the quack that of the 

Food. There is no adequate description of the food habits. In southern Abyssinia 
they were found feeding on small crustaceans (Neumann, 1904) and on grass or 
aquatic insects (Salvadori, 1884). 

Courtship and Nesting. In the northern part of its range the breeding season, 
so far as can be judged by the very scant information, is irregular, extending from 
June in the Masai region (full-grown young in July — Schillings, 1905) to March 



in the Kilimandjaro district (young in down March 17 — Sjostedt, 1910). At 
Nakuru Lake, East Africa, a female in October had greatly enlarged ovaries (V. 
G. L. van Someren, 1922). 

In South Africa eggs were found in July and both eggs and young in August near 
Carnarvon, Cape Colony. For the only good account of the nesting habits we are 
indebted to Littledale (1908). He describes three nests, undoubtedly belonging to 
this Teal. Two of these were placed under very thin and scanty bushes which did not 
conceal them from view. The third was well hidden under a thick bush. The nest 
depressions were nine inches in diameter, and three inches deep, the bottoms almost 
bare and the sides encircled with down. Once when he frightened a female off the 
nest, she returned over the nest as though she wanted to cover the eggs before leav- 
ing, although the observer was in a boat twenty yards away at the time. One of the 
nests which he found on an island in Van Wijks Vlei was evidently placed on the 
site of an old nest of an Egyptian Goose. It contained one old egg belonging to that 
species, lying among the nine eggs of the Cape Teal. On subsequent visits to the 
island the mother Teal left her nest a few minutes after the observer’s arrival, and 
on each occasion the eggs were carefully covered over with down. 

From Littledale’s notes it is evident that the drake stays in the neighborhood of 
the nest, for he says he never found a hen bird alone. The number of eggs seems to 
vary from seven to nine, and the incubation period as nearly as he could estimate it, 
was twenty-one days, possibly more. 

The eggs are yellowish-white in color and measure 37 by 48 mm. (Sjostedt, 1910), 
or sometimes up to 54 mm. in length (Nehrkorn,yide Reichenow, 1900). 

Status. Reference to the Distribution will show the general scarcity of this 
bird over almost the whole of its range. On the Natron Lakes, Kilimandjaro low- 
lands, although comparatively well represented, it was less numerous than the Red- 
bill, Cape Shoveller or South African Pochard (Sjostedt, 1910). For some reason 
museum specimens have always been exceedingly rare in American collections. 

Dr. A. K. Haagner, Director of the National Zoological Gardens at Pretoria, 
writes me under date of September, 1922, that the game-laws of South Africa are now 
framed in such a w’ay as to give ducks a good chance in the breeding season. He adds 
that the lakes are not being drained but that the vleis are drying up. Whether or 
not this is the direct result of intensive agriculture, as seems the case in our own 
West, I do not know. 

Food Value. Littledale says the Cape Teal is very good eating but not so good 
as the Red-bill {Anas erythrorhyncha) . 

Behavior in Captivity. This species seems never to have been imported alive 
into Europe or America. 

Map 50. Distribution of Cape Teal (Anas capensis) 
Questionable sporadie record indicated by cross ( X ?) 



(Plate 36) 


Querquedula bernieri Hartlaub (ex J. Verreaux, MS.), Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 8, p. 173, 

Anas bernieri Vinson, in Dupre, Trois mois a Madagascar, p. 262, 1863. 

Anas assimilis Schlegel, Mus. d’ Hist. Nat. des Pays-Bas, Anseres, p. 59, 1866 (part). 
Dafila vinsoni Grandidier, Rev. et Mag. de Zool., ser. 2, vol. 19, pp. 87, 255, 1867. 
Dafila bernieri Grandidier, Rev. et Mag. de Zool., ser. 2, vol. 19, p. 255, 1867, 
Querquedula gibberifrons Grandidier (nec S. Muller), Rev. et Mag. de Zool., ser. 2, 
vol. 20, p. 6, 1868. 

Anas gibberifrons Schlegel and Pollen (nec S. Muller), Recherches Faun. Madag., 
Oiseaux, p. 160, 1868. 

Anas capensis G. R. Gray, Hand-list Birds, vol. 3, p. 82, 1871 (part). 

Anas gibberifrons, var. bernieri Milne-Edwards and Grandidier, Hist. Nat. des 
Oiseaux de Madagascar, p. 726, pis. 270, 271, 271a, 275, fig. 3, 1876-81. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Bernier’s Duck, Madagascan Teal. 

German: Bernier’s Ente. 

French: Le canard de Bernier, Sarcelle de Madagascar. 

Madagascan: (local) Hake. 


Adult Male and Female: Very closely resemble the Gray Teal of Australia (Anas gibberifrons) but 
the speculum is velvety black with no green in it. The head is almost exactly as in the Gray Teal 
except that the chin and throat are buff-colored, not white. Upper surface very like the Gray Teal 
but the edges of the feathers are not so light in color. The lower surface is not so strongly mottled 
and the blackish spots are much more obscure. The anterior white wing-bar is very broad and the 
black speculum is formed by the secondaries, which have a narrow white band at their tips. The 
axillars are pure white instead of brown (four specimens in Leyden Museum). Salvadori says the 
upper wing-coverts are more gray than in Anas gibberifrons. 

The iris is brown; the bill reddish brown to red and the feet red to brown (Grandidier; Tring 

I doubt whether the soft parts have been accurately rendered in my plate of this Teal. 

Wing 203 mm.; culmen 38; tarsus 38. 




This species is confined to Madagascar, where it is said to be not uncommon, though occurring much 
more frequently on the west than on the east coast (Hartlaub, 1877 ; Milne-Edwards and Grandidicr, 


Nothing much is known of the life-history of this apparently rare bird. It is 
found either along the great water-courses, or on the marshes and small morasses. 
Usually it is seen in small companies (Milne-Edwards and Grandidier, 1876-81). 
Sganzin (1840) says it stays on streams and is met with throughout the year in 
company with gallinules. He considered it easy to shoot, and speaks of the flesh as 
similar to that of “European Wild Ducks” (Mallards.?) in taste. 

It is quite remarkable that Mr. F. R. Wulsin, who collected for the Museum of 
Comparative Zoology between June and September, 1915, both on and near the 
southwest coast and near the east coast of Madagascar, did not meet with this Teal 
at all. None of the large museums in this country has specimens, and so far as I 
know it has never been introduced alive into collections of w^ater-fowl in cither 
Europe or America. European museums also lack good series, judging from the very 
small number I saw at Leyden, at Tring and in the British Museum (Natural History). 
It seems to me, therefore, that the bird must be either very local or else rather rare. 



(Plate 37) 


Anas flavirostris Vieillot, Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Hist. Nat., vol. 5, p. 107, 1816. 
Anas creccoides King, Zool. Journ., vol. 4, p. 99, 1828. 

Querquedula creccoides Eyton, Monograph Anatidse, p. 128, 1838. 

Anas azarce Merrem in Ersch and Grube’s Encyclop., sect. 1, vol. 35, p. 26, 1841. 
Querquedula oxyptera Hartlaub {nec Meyen), Naumannia, 1853, p. 217. 
Querquedula flavirostris P. L. Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1867, p. 335 (part). 
N ettion flavirostris G. R. Gray, Hand-list Birds, vol. 3, p. 83, 1871. 

Nettion flavirostre Salvador!, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 261, 1895. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Yellow-billed Teal, Chilian Teal, Tree Teal. 

German: Chilenische Krickente. 

Spanish: Pato chico, Pato jergon chico, Patito, Pato barcino chico, Assobiadeira. 


Adult Male : Head and neck gray, thickly and finely barred with black. Mantle gray. Scapulars 
with black centers and light edges. Back, rump, upper tail-coverts and tail, gray-brown. Lower 
parts silvery white to light gray, the feathers having round black spots on the breast and upper 
abdomen, and indistinct black bars and spots on the lower abdomen. Under tail-coverts brownish 
to gray. Outer wing-coverts uniform gray except the greater ones which have a band of cinnamon on 
their tips. Speculum velvety black except the inner edge, which is metallic green. There is a broad 
buflFy band at the tip of the secondaries, forming a posterior speculum-band. Primaries dark gray. 
Tertials like the primaries. Under wing-coverts gray and white, axillars white. 

Iris brown. Bill yellow with a black nail. Feet grayish. 

Wing 192-202 mm. ; bill 35 ; tarsus 37. 

Adult Female; Like the male, but the round spots on the breast are not so prominent, and the 
tertials are not so black in their centers. Size smaller; bill not so bright colored. 

Wing 185-197 mm.; bill 30-35; tarsus 35. 

Young in First (Juvenal) Plumage : The pileum is blacker, and the lower parts, especially the 
breast, are not so distinctly spotted. There is less of the silvery sheen to the lower surface. The whole 
upper surface is inclined to be darker and browner, with light edgings of the feathers brown, rather 
than gray. 

Young with some down still adherent and primaries not yet started are very like the last but lower 
parts almost unspotted except on upper breast. 




Young in Down: Very similar to many other ducks, but there is a broad black face-patch along 
the center of the cheeks, with a light stripe between it and the eye. There is a narrower black stripe 
through the eye and a superciliary brownish streak. At the base of the culmen a round brownish 
spot. Top of head coal black. Upper side very dark brown with the usual white areas on scapulars, 
wing-rudiments and sides of rump. Lower side silvery white to yellowish, with suggestions of a 
gray band across the upper breast. 


The Yellow-billed Teal is a fairly common bird in southern South America, and like so many ducks 
in that region, appears to be essentially non-migratory. In the northernmost part the range meets 
or coincides with the southern part of the range of Anas oxyptera, and it may be that some of the 
records for this district are confused. 

The present species is recorded as occurring throughout Argentina. It has been met with in the 
northernmost Province, Jujuy, near Moreno (Ldnnberg, 1903) and near Carahuasi in eastern Salta 
(Borelli, fide Dabbene, 1910). Lillo (1902) has recorded it for Tucuman, and Gia- 
comelli (1907) for Rioja. It has been found breeding in Cordoba (E. W. White, 1883; 
Frenzel, 1891) and is said to be common near Mendoza (H. Burmeister, 1860; Reed, 1916). 

Eastward it is probably less common in the Chaco. It does not occur in Paraguay, but is said to be 
Uruguay common on the lower Uruguay (Barrows, 1884) and it has been found in southeastern 
Brazil in the Province of Rio Grande do Sul (von Berlepsch and von Ihering, 1885; 
H. and R. von Ihering, 1907) and is the commonest Teal in Uruguay (Aplin, 1894; 
Tremoleras, 1920). 

Returning to the Argentine, I note that the species is common in the Province of Buenos Aires, 
where it breeds to some extent (A. H. Holland, 1892; C. H. B. Grant, 1911 ; Durnford, 1878; Hartert 
and Venturi, 1909; E. Gibson, 1920). It is even more abundant, especially as a breeding bird, in 
p . . Patagonia, and has been so recorded for the region of the Rio Negro and Rio Colorado 

^ (Doering, 1881) and for Chubut (Durnford, 1878; Gerling,^de Dabbene, 1910). Mr. 

J. L. Peters, who has recently been collecting for me in western Patagonia (Gobernacion del Rio 
Negro) says the species was a not too common resident in the localities he visited, but Scott and 
Sharpe (1912) say it is common in Patagonia. 

It must be an abundant bird in the Straits of Magellan, judging by the number of records avail- 
Straits of able. Vinciguerra {fide Dabbene, 1910) found it nesting on the Island of Estados, and 

Magellan others have recorded it for Punta Arenas (Schalow, 1898; Salvador!, 1900; Brewster- 

Sanford collection). Penguin Rookery (Salvadori, 1900), Port Gallant and Cockle Cove (R. B. 
Sharpe, 1881) and Port Famine (Ridgway, 1890). 

In Tierra del Fuego the species is migratory, and it seems to be a common enough breeder 
(Crawshay, 1907; Blaauw, 1916a). In the Falklands it is a common bird and has been found nesting 
(P. L. Sclater, 1860b; Abbott, 1861; Oustalet, 1891; W. S. Brooks, 1917). 

What its status in Chile may be I do not know. L. Fraser (1843), Gay (1847), Philippi (1868), 
James (1892) and Quijada (1910) all include it in their lists and some state that it is common, or 
Chile generally distributed. The only specific records or localities I have been able to find 

are these: Blaauw (1916a) saw flocks on Lago Todos los Santos; Hartlaub (1853) 
records it for the Rio de Valdivia, and von Bibra (1855) says he found it common on all the lakes 
about Santiago. Lane (1897) does not seem to have found it in northern Chile, where it is no doubt 
replaced by Anas oxyptera. 


There are several curious traits in this bird w'hich make it rather noteworthy. 
It is the most Teal-like of the South American ducks, although in its appearance 

Map 51. Distribution of Yellow-billed Teal {Anas fiavirostris) 



and habits there is little to remind one of the Common Teal. When first seen in 
the field Mr. J. L. Peters (MS.) found it easy to confuse with the Brown Pintail. On 
the water it appears as a small dark-colored duck with prominent yellow bill, while 
on the wing it may be distinguished by its small size, short neck and “knoblike” 

Haunts. It frequents various types of country, both inland and coastal, and in 
Tierra del Fuego, Crawshay (1907) found it at low tide lurking in the pools among 
the rocks. The mouths of streams, no matter how small, were favorite haunts. In 
Hudson’s day it was to be found on every marsh, stream and pool on the pampas. 
He characterized it as rapid in flight, restless, lively, and extremely pugnacious 
(P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 1889). 

Wariness. It seems to be generally regarded as the tamest duck in the Argentine 
and the same holds true of the Falklands (Abbott, 1861 ; Crawshay, 1907). Speaking 
of the remarkable colony that nests with the parrots on his ranch near Cape San 
Antonio, E. Gibson (1920) says that they often occupy sites overhanging the prin- 
cipal paths, or in the immediate vicinity of the dwelling-house. They seem even to 
prefer these situations, he continues, “and it is at their own convenience and not 
from any movement of passersby that the birds leave their perch in the morning. . . . 
I have recorded more than one instance, when, on their return in the evening, a pair 
or more have passed low down over the heads of the tennis players, or through the 
'patio itself, quite members of the community.” 

Daily Movements. The Teal in the tree-nesting colony on Mr. Gibson’s place 
leave their perches in the morning, sometimes considerably after sunrise, and go off 
to their feeding grounds. This habit is perhaps characteristic only of birds in a per- 
fectly unmolested region. 

Swimming, Diving, Perching. So far as kn own this Teal never dives, but it 
perches freely, both during and after the breeding season. A colony that Dr. Wet- 
more saw, and of which he has written me, spent much time perching in the lofty 
branches of the eucalyptus trees, sometimes fifty feet high. C. H. B. Grant (1911) 
says they are usually seen in trees when not on the water. 

Flight. The flight is swift and agile, the birds twisting much when threading 
their way through the trees (C. H. B. Grant, 1911). In regard to flocks, Mr. Peters 
(MS.) found them in Rio Negro Province in small companies. P. L. Sclater and 
Hudson (1889) speak of flocks of twelve to twenty as the usual number. 

Association with other Species. Though sometimes found in separate flocks 
they are at other times seen mixed with flocks of Gray and Cinnamon Teal, while 
any flocks of non-breeding ducks are apt to contain a few of this species (Peters, MS.). 

Plate 37 




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how difficult to find. Abbott (1861) says it is harder to find than the nest of any 
other bird he knows. No nests were found by Aplin (1894), Crawshay (1907), W. S. 
Brooks (1917) or Peters (MS.). 

Unusual nesting sites were holes in the clay banks of rivers, found by E. W. Wliite 
(1883) in the Province of Cordoba. Perhaps the most remarkable habit ever ascribed 
to a duck has developed in this species in a restricted part of its range (Province of 
Buenos Aires). At Mr. Gibson’s residence near Cape San Antonio they have taken 
to nesting in the curious community dwellings of the Green Parakeet {Myopsittacus 
monachus). These remarkable Parakeet nests, which were at first placed in the low 
tala trees, but of late years have been built in the loftiest eucalyptus, an introduced 
tree of course, are well described by E. Gibson (1880) : “The nests are generally sus- 
pended from the extremities of branches, to which they are firmly built or woven in. 
The new nests consist only of two chambers, the porch and nest proper, and are built 
and inhabited by a single pair of birds. These become gradually added to, till plenty 
of them come to weigh perhaps a quarter of a ton each, and are of a bulk enough to 
fill a large cart. Thorny tala twigs (no branches), firmly interlaced, form the only 
material; and there is no lining to the chambers, even in the breeding-season. Some 
old forest trees have seven or eight of these huge masses suspended to their branches, 
while the ground underneath is strewn with twigs and the remains of fallen nests. 
The entrance to the chambers is almost invariably underneath, or, if on the side, is 
protected by the overhanging eave, doubtless in both cases as a safeguard against 
attacks of the opossum (Didelphys aurita).” The entrances lead into a porch or outer 
chamber; there is never any communication between the apartments of different 
pairs. The larger nests have accommodations for about a dozen pairs. 

The Teal sometimes lay in these nests when deserted, but in certain cases they 
lay their eggs in occupied chambers. It seems to make little difference to the Teal, 
for in such cases the Parakeet usually abandons the nest, whereupon the Teal is said 
to break the Parakeet’s eggs, push them away, and incubate her own (Dabbene, 

Another nest location in the eucalyptus woods, first noted by E. Gibson (1920) 
in 1913 was on the top of an accumulation of bark and leaves in a bifurcation of the 
trunk ten or fifteen feet from the ground. The relation between the parrots and the 
Teal in these situations is not entirely clear. The Green Parakeet is said to be a very 
bellicose bird, yet it seems to abandon its nest when the Teal occupies it. Neither 
E. Gibson (1920) nor C. H. B. Grant (1911) says anything about the Teal breaking 
the parrot’s eggs, and this practice, mentioned only by Dabbene (1918) is certainly 
very unusual for a duck, or any other bird for that matter. Dabbene’s information 
seemed to be based solely on the observations of a collector named Rodriguez, and 
I should like to see these facts further verified. The third occupant of these strange 
colonies is sometimes the opossum, but whether he really destroys many eggs of the 



parrot and Teal is not apparent. These Parakeets have always been killed for food 
and by this time large colonies of them must be very uncommon (Barrows, 1884). 

The Yellow-bill’s clutch is unusually small for a duck, averaging about five eggs, 
both when the nest is on the ground and when in trees. E. Gibson (1920), however, 
says he has found as many as eight or nine in the Parakeet’s nest. This may have 
been the work of two birds. The eggs are of a pale cream-color, measuring 51-54 
by 37-39 mm. The incubation period is not known. Some of Mr. Wormald’s 
captive-laid eggs hatched in twenty-six days, but this seems rather long for so small 
a duck. 

Status. This Teal is one of the common Argentine ducks, but is everywhere 
greatly exceeded in numbers by the Brown Pintail, and in the west by the Chiloe 
Widgeon. Aplin (1894) says it is the commonest Teal in Uruguay, but in northwest- 
ern Patagonia, where it is not a particularly common resident, it was fourth or fifth 
in order of abundance among the ducks, representing only about 1% or 2% of the 
total. Its status in those parts seemed to be about the same as that of the Argentine 
Gray Teal, the Cinnamon Teal and the South American Shoveller (Peters, MS.). 

Enemies. The possible enemies of ducks in Patagonia have already been dis- 
cussed in the account of the Chilian Widgeon. The water-fowl in those regions seem 
to be particularly free from attacks by predatory beasts and birds. 

Food Value. This is evidently an excellent bird for the table. 

Behavior in Captivity. This Teal does not seem to have been imported into 
Europe till 1871, when the London Gardens procured some. So far as I know the 
species has never bred in London, and it cannot be classed as a bird which lends itself 
easily to propagation under artificial conditions. It has been often kept, but sel- 
dom bred. Among English amateurs Mr. Hugh Wormald {in litt.), Earl Grey of 
Falloden {in litt.) and Mr. W. H. St. Quintin have been successful. A pair of birds 
on the latter’s ponds raised their own young in 1918, but these all escaped (London 
Field, vol. 133, p. 12, 1919). In this country, so Mr. L. S. Crandall informs me, the 
species has been bred by Mr. John A. Cox at East Brewster, Massachusetts. 

They do fairly well in captivity. Eight specimens in the London Gardens lived 
an average of two years, eleven months, the maximum being seven years and three 
months (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). One specimen received in April, 1912, in the New 
York Gardens, died nearly nine years later (Crandall, in litt.). 

Hybrids. The only cross of which I know was one between this species and the 
Mallard, produced in the London Gardens (Salvadori, 1895). 


(Plate 37) 


Anas oxyptera Meyen, Nova Acta Acad. Leop. -Carol., vol. 16, suppl., p. 121, 1833. 
Querquedula creccoides G. R. Gray, List Birds British Mus., p. 138, 1844. 
Querquedula oxyptera Tschudi, Fauna Peruana, Aves, pp. 55, 309, 1844-46. 

Dafila oxyptera Reichenbach, Synopsis xA.viuin, Natatores, pi. 92, fig. 164, 1845. 
Querquedula angustirostris Philippi and Landbeck, Anales Univ. Chile, Santiago, 
vol. 21, p. 439, 1862. 

Nettion oxypterum Salvador!, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 262, 1895. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Sharp-winged Teal. 

Indian: Paspa chica. 


Adult Male: Similar to Anas flavirostris but larger; mantle and scapulars more brownish and less 
gray, with the black areas reduced in size. On the lower surface the dark spots are smaller, more 
brownish and confined to the breast, leaving the abdomen and under tail-coverts nearly immaculate 
pale gray, although the latter may have a buffy tinge. 

Iris brovTi. Bill yellow’ with a black central stripe. Legs and feet grayish. 

Wing 204-225 mm.; bill 33-36; tarsus 37. 

.\dult Female : The plumage appears to be the same as in the male and is not even duller. I have 
found very little difference in the size of the sexes. A series of females from Lake Junin and Lake 
Titicaca have wings from 192 to 215 mm. — only 10 mm. less than in the males. 

Immature Plumages: Not available. 

Young in Down: Two specimens collected at Lake Titicaca, Peru, are remarkably different from 
the young of Anas flavirostris. The white of the under parts extends higher on the sides, particularly 
on the sides of the breast. The color of the upper side is paler, and the wdiite wing-, scapular- and 
rump-spots are more prominent. The dark face-mark is present, but not so prominent, while the 
light face-stripes are correspondingly accentuated. The difference between the young of this and the 
last species is interesting, and rather surprising. 


The Sharp- winged Teal is a species closely allied to the preceding, and is found in the Andean regions 
of southern Peru, western Bolivia, northern Chile and northern Argentina. In Peru the range extends 
as far north as Lake Junin (Taczanowski, 1886; Brew’ster-Sanford collection), but it seems to be 



more common in the south, especially about Lake Titicaca and in Arequipa (J. A. Allen, 1875; 
Taczanowski, 1886; Brewster-Sanford collection; Menegaux, 1909a; von Berlepsch and Stolzmann, 
1906). P. L. Sclater and Salvin (1869a) have also recorded it from Tungasuca and the vicinity of 
Tinta, and F. M. Chapman (1921) reports a specimen in the Occobamba Pass, not far from Cuzco. 

In western Bolivia the species has so far been found chiefly in the vicinity of Lake Poopo. hlcne- 
gaux (1909a) has recorded it from Tamarape, Sicasica and Pazna Bastide. 

In northern Chile, so far as I know, the species has been found only in the Provinces of Tacna and 
Tarapaca. The dividing line between Anas oxyptera and Anas flavirostris in this region is not yet 
clear. Taczanowski (1886) has recorded it from Tacna and the vicinity of Cuterv'o, and P. L. Sclater 
(1886) says it was taken by Berkeley James at Sitana, Huasco, Sacaya and Lalcalhuay in the Prov- 
ince of Tarapaca. It has also been taken at Calalaste, Tarapaca (Philippi, 1888) but Lane (1897) 
found it not common near Sacaya. 

From the Argentine the species has been recorded for the northernmost Provinces only, Jujuy and 
Salta (Bruch, 1904), but I strongly suspect that some of the records for Anas jlaviTostris from this 
region should be referred to this species. 


This duck is very similar to the preceding species (Anasflavirostris) in appearance, 
although the difference in the downy young is very striking. This is a remarkable 
fact, if the distinction always holds as well as it does in the few specimens I have 

The present species is confined to high Andean plateaus, reaching altitudes of at 
least 13,000 feet in Peru. Practically nothing has been recorded concerning its habits, 
breeding, voice, status, etc. Young have been obtained at Lake Titicaca in February 
(J. A. Allen, 1875). A large series taken by R. M. Beck at Lake Junin in March 
and April, 1913, and at Lake Titicaca in August (Brewster-Sanford collection) shows 
the following peculiarities: of eleven males from Lake Junin several had moulted the 
primaries; the sex organs of these males were either small or medium-sized, and none 
of them was in a breeding condition. One male taken at Lake Titicaca, August 18, 
was breeding. Of the seven female specimens, those taken in March had the sex 
organs either small or beginning to swell, while in one the ovaries were large. In a 
female specimen taken at Lake Titicaca on July 26, the sex organs were swelling. 
The breeding season therefore seems to be very irregular in that even climate. 

Map 52. Distribution of Sharp-winged Teal {Anas oxy'ptera) 


^iV^S GEORGICA Gmelin 
(Plate 37) 


Anas georgica Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 516, 1788. 
Tadorna georgica Stephens, General Zool., vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 76, 1824. 

Anas xanfhorhyncha Forster, leones Inedit., pi. 71; Deseriptiones Animalium, 
p. 342 (nee p. 45), 1844. 

Querquedula xanthorhyncha Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, 
p. 650, 1856. 

Querquedula eatoni Cabanis {nec Sharpe), Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 32, p. 254, 1884. 
Querquedula antartica Cabanis {sic), Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 36, p. 118, pi, 1, 1888. 

Vernacular Names 

English: South Georgian Teal, Georgian Duck. 


Adult IVIale: Very similar to Anas flavirostris but there is no iridescent green band on the inner side 
of the speculum although the black part of the speculum may have a greenish cast. The whole lower 
surface is darker, browner and more uniform. The under tail-coverts are dark brown, with brown 
edges, and not gray or buff. The mantle is nearly uniform dark brown, and there is no black any- 
where except along the inner web of the tertials. The top of the head is browner than in Anas 
flavirostris and streaked longitudinally instead of being barred. The tail is very long and pointed, 
120 mm. instead of 90 or 100. 

This species also resembles the South American Pintail {Anas spinicauda) from which it may be 
told by its smaller size and the darker color of the lower parts and the mantle. The head is very 
nearly of the same color as in that species, except that the chin and throat are more thickly spotted. 
Wing very similar to that of Anas spinicauda. 

Iris dark brown. Culmen, nail and distal border of maxilla, black; remainder of top of bill slaty 
blue; side of maxilla Naples yellow, becoming greenish where it blends with the blue tip. Legs and 
feet olive green mottled with sooty brown (Murphy, 1916). 

Wing 217 mm.; bill 34; tarsus 37. 

Adult Female: Distinguishable only by the dull speculum and slightly smaller size (Murphy, 1916). 
Immatube Specimens: Same general color as adults (Lonnberg, 1906). 

Young in Down: Head above and the back of the neck reddish brown; lower part of the back red- 
dish brown from the wing-rudiment to the hip and farther back a yellow stripe. Lower part of body 
a greenish lemon-yellow, somewhat more brown on upper breast. Iris dark brown, feet and webs 
olive-grayish green with a light yellow-brown bar. Another description by the same writer (von der 



Steinen) means very little more. Unless downy specimens are compared directly with young of the 
more common surface-feeding ducks, little can be learned. I have not seen a specimen in down 


The South Georgian Teal is confined to the island of South Georgia (in the South Atlantic), where 
it is rather common on the northern coasts (Pagenstecher, 1885; von der Steinen, 1890; Ldnnberg, 
1906; Szielasko, 1907; Murphy, 1916). 


This isolated member of the duck tribe, seen by so few naturalists, seems to be 
most closely related to the Brown Pintail of South America. Our knowledge of its 
status and habits is due almost entirely to the explorations of von der Steinen, 
Lonnberg, and more recently the American ornithologist, Robert Cushman Murphy. 
The last-named writer has called attention to its great resemblance to the Brown 
Pintail of which it is almost a miniature, except that the Georgian Teal has sixteen 
tail-feathers against fourteen for the Brown Pintail. 

These birds are found on the small lagoons on the seashore, as well as on the ponds 
of the plateau. They come to the seashore at low tide. Murphy thinks they are 
probably not found on the southern slope of the island. He found them commonest 
in the Bay of Islands in the middle of December, where they were feeding about 
the small islets in the bay, on rocks and kelp-fields, and on the fresh-water ponds in 
the hollows of the grassy islands. 

Wariness. Before they were disturbed these birds were probably the tamest of 
all Anatidce. At the Bay of Islands, where they had not been molested, bands of men 
could walk close up to them, and Murphy himself came within six feet of a pair, 
which only waddled off among the hummocks, from which refuge they peered out at 
him through a screen of drooping grass. Von der Steinen and the other members of 
the South Polar Expedition found them at first not at all suspicious, so that they 
eould be shot while sitting. Gradually they became more wary and in the end were 
quite difficult to secure. Lonnberg says they are particularly shy in winter, when 
they live in flocks on the coast. 

Daily Movements. Their daily habits depend entirely on the tide, for when 
not actually breeding, they seem to spend most of their time on the coast, feeding 
when the tide is out and resting during high water. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving. Before the arrival of white men these Teal probably 
used their wings only for very short flights. Several observers have noted their 
habit of running away in the grass rather than flying, when approached. The old 


birds do not dive, but the young sometimes resort to this practice as a means of 
escape (Ldnnberg, 1906). 

Flight. They are usually seen in flocks of from six to twelve, but in winter they 
seem to flock together in companies numbering as many as one hundred (von der 
Steinen, 1890; Ldnnberg, 1906). 

Voice. The male has a whistling note repeated several times (Ldnnberg, 1905; 
Szielasko, 1907). Another note, probably that of the female, sounds like the bursting 
of large bubbles. This, says von der Steinen, is usually uttered as a warning cry. 
While the birds were feeding, Murphy heard an occasional quack which was undoubt- 
edly also the female’s note. 

Food. The principal food seems to be amphipods, gleaned from the kelp-fields 
and about the rocks at low tide. They also feed in the ponds and in the bare, wet 
runways between tussock-hummocks, though what sort of food they obtain in these 
situations is not apparent (Murphy, 1916). 

Courtship and Nesting. The breeding season extends from November to late 
February, but the majority seem to nest in December. Von der Steinen saw them 
several times in pairs in November, and observed the first mating on November 19. 
Members of the Expedition found the first eggs on December 8, and the first young 
on December 18. Sbrling found the first eggs on December 7 and met with broods 
on December 13 and 14 (Ldnnberg, 1906). Late nests, however, seem to be quite 
common. Murphy found a nest on February 28 and von der Steinen foimd ducklings 
late in February, and even up to March 15. 

The nests found were all very carefully concealed in the high tussock-grass. One 
discovered by Murphy on February 28 was on top of a hummock, beside a pond, and 
two hundred yards from the shore of Possession Bay. It was covered by dead stand- 
ing blades of grass which completely arched it over. The nest was lined with dead 
grass and a few feathers, and contained five eggs lying with the small ends together 
in the deep bowl. Five seems to be the usual number of eggs in the clutch, and only 
one nest is recorded with less than this (nest with three eggs, von der Steinen) and 
none with more. The small complement seems to be an adaptation to the rigorous 
climate of South Georgia, and is characteristic of other Antarctic birds, especially 
terns and other sea-birds. 

The eggs are of a cream color, with a highly polished surface. No measurements 
are published. The nest-down is described as being whitish gray (von der Steinen, 

None of the naturalists who have visited South Georgia has recorded anything 


about the behavior of the male after the young are hatched, nor have they said 
anything about the display. 

Status. During Murphy’s stay in South Georgia (1912-13) he found that this 
Teal had fared badly, due to the establishment of numerous whaling stations on the 
island. In the neighborhood of Cumberland Bay it has become so greatly reduced 
that he saw only six birds. Due, however, to the separation of the bays and fjords 
by impassable glaciers and ice-capped ranges, the extinction of the species is unlikely 
for some time to come. Murphy says that although the bird was numerous, he rarely 
saw more than two dozen in one day. This may perhaps be explained by the fact 
that he was there mostly in the nesting season. He does not think that this species 
can be nearly as abundant as is Eaton’s Pintail on Kerguelen Island. Szielasko 
(1907) saw exceptionally large numbers in an unknown bay north of Cumberland 

Both Lbnnberg and Murphy have noted the preponderance of males over fe- 

Enemies. It is very hard to understand how a Teal can maintain its existence in 
the presence of the Great Skua Gull (Catharacta) . When a parent bird and her brood 
are surprised, the mother feigns lameness and the young disappear as if by magic in 
the tussock-grass (Murphy, 1916). Once a misguided Skua pounced down on a 
female as she was fluttering lamely around him, her young being in the neighbor- 
hood, but the duck flew “with a bound” and easily outdistanced her enemy. On 
several occasions Murphy and other collectors have seen Skuas swoop down and 
carry off in their bills Teal that had been shot. 

Food Value. The marine diet renders their flesh strong and oily, but the 
young birds are excellent eating, especially if skinned first (von der Steinen, 1890). 

Hunt. These birds have been consistently hunted by whalers, and great numbers 
have apparently been taken. 

Behavior in Captivity. None has ever been brought back to civilized countries 


ANAS ANDIUM (P. L. Sclater and Salvin) 

(Plate 37) 


Querquedula andium P. L. Sclater and Salvin, Nomenclator Avium Neotrop., pp. 
129, 162, 1873. 

Nettion andium Salvadori, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 263, 1895. 

Veenaculak Name 

English: Andean Teal. 


Adult Male; Closely resembles Anas jlavirostris but is larger. The mantle and scapulars are darker 
and more uniform, and the light edges of the feathers are reduced and darker. The breast is coarsely 
mottled, or barred, and never has the clearly defined round spots. The wing is the same. 

Iris brown. Bill lead-blue instead of yellow and black. Legs and feet pale leaden blue with the 
joints dusky color. I can find no reference to flesh-colored legs as reported by Salvadori. 

Compared with the Brown Pintail, this Teal has a more darkly spotted head, but there is a general 
resemblance, particularly in the lower surface. The wing of the Andean Teal has the same general 
speculum and wing-plan, and the central tail-feathers are acuminate. The upper surface is darker 
and the long scapulars lack the broad, light edges seen in the Brown Pintail. 

Wing 214-230 mm.; bill 40; tarsus 38. 

Adult Female : Plumage the same except that the breast spotting is rather less pronounced. 

Wing 205-217 mm. 

Young in Down; Not examined. 


This species, which is closely related to the Yellow-billed and Sharp-winged Teal, is found in similar 
localities, but farther north. Its home is in the high Andes of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela. 
Fraser took a specimen between Riobamba and Mocha (P. L. Sclater and Salvin, 1876) and two 
others were taken near Quito (ibid.). The British Museum possesses others from Sical and the 
Rio Blanco, Ecuador; and the American Museum of Natural History in New York has a specimen 
from Antisana. Chubb (1919) has recorded a pair taken at Sinche Guaranda (altitude 4000 meters). 
Ldnnberg and Rendahl (1922) obtained specimens at Pedregal on the north side of Cotopaxi and at 
Lake Mica Antisana. 

Only a few specimens have been taken in Colombia. F. M. Chapman (1917) took one near Santa 
Isabel and the American Museum has another from Bogota. Mr. M. A. Carriker has taken specimens 
with young in the Sierra Nevada de Chita (Boyaca district) and these are now in the Museum of 
Comparative Zoology at Cambridge. 

This Teal has only once or twice been taken in Venezuela. Goering obtained specimens in the 



Sierra Nevada of Merida (P. L. Sclater and Salvin, 1875). In the Culata Mountains of northwestern 
Venezuela Osgood and Conover (1922) saw eight on the Paramo San Antonio at an elevation of over 
12,000 feet. 


Few field-notes concerning this species have been published, and I am greatly in- 
debted to Mr. M. A. Carriker, Jr., of Santa Marta, Colombia, who observed these 
birds in the Boyaca district, for a few notes on their habits. He writes: “As regards 
the Andean Teal sent to you, I have the following data available. They are found 
exclusively on or in close proximity to the lakes, ponds and marshes of the ‘paramos’ 
of the central and eastern cordilleras of the Andes, at least in Colombia; the western 
cordillera is not of sufficient elevation or extension to furnish habitat for them. They 
are seldom seen below 11,000 feet, and range up to snow-line, where conditions are 
suitable. They apparently sleep on the water, selecting the middle of the largest 
available lakes, but feed mostly on the shallow ponds and marshes, around the margins 
of the water, diving also in the shallower parts for food on the bottom. They asso- 
ciate together in flocks or pairs, and as a rule are not particularly shy unless persist- 
ently hunted, which is not often the case. They breed in the marshes and along the 
margins of the lakes where suitable cover is present. I secured young birds (probably 
about three weeks old) along the margin of one of the lakes in the Sierra Nevada de 
Chita, State of Boyaca, altitude about 14,000 feet, on March 13, 1917, and the 
following day a female, just beginning to lay. They are rather silent birds, with a 
weak call-note.” 

Osgood and Conover (1922) found them very tame in northwestern Venezuela. 
One flock of six was so loath to fly that they were thought at first to be unfledged. 
Two could not be forced into the air but sneaked under some bushes by the water 
whence they could not be dislodged. These lakes had very little vegetation and 
dropped right off into deep water so that the Teal must feed on the banks. Accord- 
ing to the natives the breeding season is in August, but it is more than probable 
that nesting is not confined to any particular time. 

Map 53. Distribution of Andean Teal (Anas andium) 


(Plate 38) 


Anas punctata Burchell, Travels in Interior So, Africa, vol. 1, p. 283, note, 1822. 
Querquedula hottentota Smith, Cat. South African Mus., p. 37, 1837. 

Anas pileata Lichtenstein, Verzeichniss Saugethiere und Vogel, p. 20, 1842. 
Pterocyanea pileata Lichtenstein, Nomenclator Avium Mus. Berol., p. 102, 1854. 
Anas hottentota Schlegel, Mus. d’Hist. Nat, des Pays-Bas, Anseres, p. 60, 1866. 
Querquedula madagascariensis Grandidier, Rev. et Mag. de ZooL, ser. 2, vol. 19, pp. 
87, 255, 1867. 

Nettion hottentota G. R. Gray, Hand-list Birds, pt. 3, p. 83, 1871. 

Anas assimilis Hartlaub {ex Paris Mus.), Vogel Madagascar., p. 365, 1877. 
Querquedida punctata Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1880, pp. 522, 534. 
Querquedula pileata Schalow, Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 32, p. 177, 1884. 

Querquedula cyanorhyncha Schalow {ex Boehm, MS.), Journ. f. Ornith., vol. 32, 
p. 177, 1884. 

Nettion punctatum Salvador!, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 265, 1895. 

Vernaculae Names 
English: Hottentot Teal, Spotted Teal. 

German: Gefleckte Ente. 

French: Sarcelle hottentote. 

Dutch: Gevlekte Eend. 

Hova: Sadakely, Kintokely, Fotsielatra. 


Adult Male: Upper part of the head down to the eyes black, sharply contrasted with the buff- 
colored cheeks and throat. The buff color extends back on each side toward the occiput, leaving a 
mottled gray area on the sides of the neck. Mantle and scapulars dark brown, mottled with black. 
Back and rump black; upper tail-coverts vermiculated; tail black. Lower parts dark brown, thickly 
spotted on the breast with black, and indistinctly barred on the abdomen with the same color. 
Under tail-coverts vermiculated. Wing-coverts black with a greenish gloss. Secondaries metallic 
green on their outer webs, forming a speculum, which is bounded posteriorly by a black and then by 
a broad white band. Primaries dark brown. Under wing-coverts black, except the median and 
greater, which are white like the axillars. 

Iris dark brown or black. Upper mandible black on the top, and bluish on the sides. L«egs and feet 
slaty-blue to black. 

Wing 140-160 mm.; bill 36; tarsus 28. 



Adult Female: Similar to the male. Size slightly smaller. Color of soft parts the same. 

Immature Specimens: Less heavily spotted on the lower parts, and with the top of the head more 
brownish (?). The under tail-coverts are said to be fawn-colored, and unspotted. 

Young in Down: Not examined. 


Like other African ducks the Hottentot Teal is essentially a non-migratory species, with a rather wide 
distribution. In the northeast its range extends as far as southern Abyssinia, where it has been taken 
on Lake Cialalaka in February (Salvadori, 1888), and on Lake Harrar Meyer in January (Ogilvie- 
Grant, 1901). It is not a common bird so far north, but on the lakes of Ankole (southern Uganda) 
it is quite plentiful (Ogilvie-Grant, 1905a; V. G. L. van Someren, 1916). R. B. Sharpe (1902) has 
recorded it from Entebbe, Uganda. According to F. J. Jackson (1906) it is a common bird on the 
Toro Crater Lakes, Ruwenzori range. In British East Africa it seems to be more common about 
Lake Naivasha than elsewhere, judging from the number of records (Ansorge,^de Reichenow, 1900; 
W. Stone, 1906; Bannerman, 1910; C. H. B. Grant, 1915; V. G. L. van Someren, 1922) but there are 
records for El Bolossa (W. Stone, 1906) and Lake Odah (Ogilvie-Grant, 1901). Schillings (1905) 
found it on the Nyeri Swamps. 

Across the border, in what was formerly German East Africa, this Teal has been repeatedly found 
about Kilimandjaro, where it is common and breeds (Sjostedt, 1910; Neumann, 1898) and on 
Lake Tanganyika (Matschie, 1887; Dubois, 1886a; Bbhm, 1885). It has even been found on the 
Congo (west) side of Tanganyika, at the mouth of the Lufuko River (Bohm, 1885). Kothe (1911) 
describes it as a very common bird on Lake Sundu. 

In northernmost Rhodesia the species was found to be not uncommon in the valley of the Luangwa 
(Neave, 1910) but there are no other records for Rhodesia, though Shelley (1896-1912) has reported 
specimens taken about Somba (British Central Africa) and in the vicinity of Lake Shirwa, Mozam- 
bique (Whyte, Reichenow, 1900; Shelley, 1896-1912). 

In northern Bechuanaland this species was found on the Botletle River (Bryden, 1893), in the 
Okavango Basin and on Lake Ngami (Fleck, 1894). W^ L. Sclater (1912a) has recorded it from the 
Tsende and Mazwe Rivers, and T. Ayres (1880) found it common in November near Potchefstroom. 
Horsbrugh (1912) states that he has shot it on the Orange River, and Bowker {fide Stark and Sclater, 
1906) has taken it in Basutoland. It is not a common bird in Natal (J. H. Gurney, 1862) but has been 
taken on the Umfolosi River (W. L. Sclater, 1912a) and near Newcastle (E. A. Butler, Feilden and 
Reid, 1882). In eastern Griqualand it is rarely found near Matatiele (C. G. Davies, 1908). It seems 
to be a very uncommon bird in Cape Colony, described as rare at Port Elizabeth, with other records 
for the Zak River, Fraserburg Division, Swaarkops River and evidently for Verloren Vlei (Stark 
and Sclater, 1906; and others). 

Like most ducks it is rare in Damara- and Great Namaqualand, occurring only in the rainy season, 
and most common at Omanbonde and a few of the lakes (Andersson, 1872; Fleck, 1894), but farther 
north it is abundant in Mossamedes and on the Rio Coroca, the northern limit being Cuanza (Barboza 
de Bocage, 1877-81). 

Very little can be said about its status in Madagascar, but it has been taken at Morundava and 
Tamatave (Hartlaub, 1877), and F. R. Wulsin took specimens at the southern end of Lake Alaotra, 
and at Tulear, Bevero and Miandrivazo, in the southwestern and eastern parts, in June, July and 
September (Bangs, 1918). 

Map 54. Distribution of Hottentot Teal {Anas 'punctata) 




The Hottentot Teal, in spite of its wide range, is a rather uncommon bird, except- 
ing in a few localities. Almost nothing has been written concerning its life-history 
and, as it has never been observed in captivity, we know little of its voice, display or 
special behavior. It is essentially an inland species and, judging by its distribution, 
it seldom penetrates into the regions of rich tropical forests, seeming, if anything, to 
show a preference for higher country such as the vicinity of Kilimandjaro and 

Nearly all travelers have found this bird confiding and rather easy to approach. 
Horsbrugh (1912) even speaks of it as tame and sluggish and Sjbstedt (1910) found 
it quite “bold” in the Kilimandjaro lowlands, while Kothe (1911) speaks of it as not 
wary. Only F. J. Jackson (1906) considered it really wild. 

The flight seems to be light, silent and swift when once on the wing (Sjbstedt, 
1910; Horsbrugh, 1912). The birds usually travel as singles or in very small groups, 
and no large fiocks have ever been recorded. 

Of the voice nothing whatsoever has been recorded, so far as I know. 

Stomachs taken in the Kilimandjaro country and examined by Sjbstedt (1910) 
were filled with black volcanic gravel and digested parts of plants, apparently 

Nothing is known of the pairing and nesting activities, and even the nest itself 
seems never to have been described. Sjbstedt (1910) foimd young half -feathered on 
July 31 on the Merker Lakes, Kilimandjaro. Two eggs collected in Ovampoland by 
Andersson are of a pale cream-color, and measure about 43 by 33 mm. (E. W. Oates, 

As the account of its distribution shows, the crater-lakes of the Ruwenzori range 
and the lakes of the Kilimandjaro lowlands, as well as Sundu Lake (former German 
East Africa) are the places in which this duck has been found to be really common. 
On the Ruwenzori it was the commonest duck on one of the Toro Lakes, where be- 
tween one and two hundred birds were seen (F. J. Jackson, 1906), and in the Kili- 
mandjaro it was found exceedingly common (Sjbstedt, 1910). All over the southern 
part of Africa it is one of the rarer ducks and in many local lists of water-birds in 
and about the Cape Province it does not appear at all. 

Sjbstedt (1910) speaks of this Teal as “delicious eating.” 

The species has never been brought alive to either Europe or America, so far as I 
have been able to discover. 




Querqucdula andamanerisis Tytler, in Beavan, Ibis, ser. 2, vol. 3, p. 333, 1867 
{nomen nudum). 

Nettion andamanensis G. R. Gray, Hand-list Birds, pt. 3, p. 84, 1871. 

Anas andamanensis Giebel, Thesanrns Ornith., vol. 1, p. 344, 1872. 

Mareca punctata Ball {nec Anas punctata Cuvier), Journ. Asiatic Soc. Bengal, vol. 41, 
pt. 2, p. 290, 1872. 

Mareca albogularis Hume, Stray Feathers, vol. 1, p. 303, 1873. 

Mareca gibberifrons Walden {nec S. Muller), Ibis, ser. 3, vol. 3, p. 321, 1873. 
Querqucdula gibberifrons Hume (nee S. Muller), Stray Feathers, vol. 8, p. 115, 1879. 
Nettion albigulare Salvador!, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 257, 1895. 
Polionetta albigularis Fleming, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 24, p. 215, 1911. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Andaman Teal, Mangrove Teal, Oceanic Teal, Gibbery. 

German: Andamanenente. 


Adult Male: Very similar to Anas gibberifrons but the top of the head is more uniform black, the 
sides of the head are unspotted, and there is a ring of white feathers around and below the eye. In 
specimens from North Reef Island the whole head is more or less white. Speculum nearly like that of 
Anas gibberifrons, but the first secondary is almost white on the outer edge and the wing-band is 
slightly wider and darker buff color. 

“Legs and feet greenish blue to plumbeous, webs usually darker; bill plumbeous, nail black; in 
some the lower mandible, in one the terminal two thirds of this, pink; irides reddish” (Hume). 
Wing 196-200 mm.; bill 35; tarsus 36. 

Weight, 12 ounces to one pound (0.34 to 0.40 kilograms) (Hume and Marshall, 1879; Finn, 1915). 
Adult Female: Same as male. 

Im.mature Specimens: According to Salvadori the dusky markings on the under surface are less 

Young in Down: Somewhat like the young of the Common Teal (Anas crecca) but much darker on 
the cheeks, and with some irregular white spots about the eye. There is no trans-ocular dark 
streak and the light superciliary streak is lacking. The light spots on the wing-rudiments, 
scapular area and sides of rump are about the same as in the Teal and in many other ducks (speci- 
men at Tring). 

Plate 38 





This Teal is confined to the Andaman group and is apparently far more common on South Andaman 
than anywhere else. So far as I know it has never been taken on Little Andaman, but in the north 
it has been found on Landfall Island and on Great Cocos, and once near Bassein on the Burmese 
coast (Hume and Marshall, 1879; Baker, 1908; N. F. Wilson, 1904; etc.). Fleming (1911) has 
recorded it from North Reef Island. 


Haunts. This species is closely related to the Gray Teal of Australia {Anas gibheri- 
frons) and, it seems to me, is quite wrongly placed by Sharpe in a separate genus 
with the Spot-bill {Anas poecilorhyncha) . It is little known to ornithologists. All we 
have learned of its habits we owe to the writings of Hume and Marshall (1879), 
Osmaston (1906) and Butler (in Baker, 1908). It is found wherever fresh-water 
lagoons exist, but flocks were also seen resorting at low tide to two rocky islets in 
the neighborhood of Port Blair at the head of the harbor (Butler). After the mon- 
soon began (early June) these flocks of Teal broke up into small parties of five or 
six and retired to the creeks and dyke-intersected marshes a little inland. A month 
or so later they began to breed. 

Waeiness. Hume and Marshall (1879) did not consider them wild or wary when 
in pairs. Sometimes, in going up the creeks a pair would slip off the bank into the 
water and keep swimming about twenty yards ahead of the boat, only rising when 
hard pressed. He says, “They do not leave a place at the first shot, and Davison has 
got as many as eight by successive shots out of the same flock, the birds flying about 
and settling again at short distances. But they are eminently birds of a retiring 
habit, and very soon abandon, as a day haunt, any place which civilized or semi- 
civilized men begin to frequent.” 

Butler also found them extremely tame when in pairs in the small channels 
among the marshes. He was often able to creep close to them and one pair which he 
surprised at very close quarters merely fluttered like Water-hens along the surface, 
then pitched down and began swimming away. Birds that had been shot at, how- 
ever, behaved very differently, and the flocks around Aberdeen were very wild, for 
they had been much hunted by the English residents. 

Daily Movements. During the day these birds spend most of their time sleep- 
ing or perching in some inaccessible mangrove swamp, but in the evening they flock 
together and resort to fresh-water ponds or paddy-fields to feed (Hume and Marshall, 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Perching. According to Hume and Marshall, and 
Finn these birds are active both on land and on water. They do not attempt to dive 



unless hard pressed but in a case of necessity can do so most vigorously (Butler, in 
Baker, 1908; Hume and Marshall, 1879). The birds regularly perch, and, as aforesaid, 
spend much of their time among mangroves. 

Flight. The flight is fairly rapid and noiseless. Occasionally, when they have 
been kept on the wing for some time, a party will swoop down to the surface of the 
creek, as if they meant to pitch, then change their minds and rise again. When exer- 
cising this manoeuvre they fly past at a tremendous pace (Butler). The white wing- 
bar is a distinguishing field-mark. 

The flocks are usually of moderate size, about twenty or thirty (Hume and Mar- 
shall, 1879), but on the seacoast much larger congregations used to occur (Butler). 

Association with other Species. On the creeks they are commonly found in 
the company of the Whistling Teal (Dendrocygna javanica), and Butler has watched 
them together on the water, but says that the Andaman Teal separate from the 
others when put up. 

Voice. A male which died in the Calcutta Gardens had a well-developed bony 
tracheal bulb, very similar to that of the Common Teal (Finn, 1901a). This sex has 
a low whistling note, while the female utters a typical Teal-like quack (Finn, 1915). 
Davison (in Hume and Marshall, 1879) says he heard the whistling note only at 
night, when the birds were feeding. More than likely it is a note used mostly during 
the breeding season, as in many Teal and other ducks. 

Food. No stomach analyses have been reported, and I know nothing of the 
feeding habits beyond the fact that the birds frequent the paddy-fields at night, and 
probably also find something to their taste on the salt-water flats. 

Courtship and Nesting. Butler says pairing begins late in June, at which time 
the testes of the male were enlarged, although the ovaries of the females had under- 
gone no change. The breeding season probably begins late in July and continues 
through August, but there is little to base this assumption on. The nesting season 
seems to follow the onset of the monsoon, which begins in June. 

Apparently only two nests have been recorded. The first was found by Captain 
Wimberley in August in a paddy-field near Port Mouat (Hume and Marshall, 1879). 
The second was discovered by Osmaston near the top of a padonk tree on August 
4. This latter writer says that as far as his experience goes they invariably nest in 
holes in lofty and often dead trees. The clutch evidently numbers about ten. The 
eggs are devoid of gloss, and of a uniform cream-color. In size they vary from 47.2- 
50.3 by 35.5-37.3 mm. The incubation period is not known. Butler notes that a 



male accompanied the family on the only occasion on which he foimd a brood. The 
female flew round and round within twenty yards, uttering a low double quack, but 
the drake kept farther off and was silent. The male also accompanied the female and 
brood of a pair that nested in the London Gardens (Finn, 1907). 

Status. This duck was never particularly numerous. What its history has been 
in the last quarter of a century I do not know; nor do I know what noxious mammals 
have spread to the Andaman Islands, but it does not seem likely that this region has 
escaped the introduction of some foreign pest, the curse of island faunas. The com- 
mon occurrence of white-headed individuals like those described by Fleming (1911) 
may indicate a general reduction in numbers followed by inbreeding, which might 
quite easily account for this abnormality. 

Enemies. Nothing recorded. 

Damage. Probably little or none. 

Food Value. Butler found them generally fat, with tender skins, making them 
rather difficult birds to prepare as specimens. The supposition is that they are good 

Hunt. Nothing known, excepting that they were rather persistently hunted by 
the British officers around Port Blair. Butler speaks of as many as seventeen being 
shot with four barrels. 

Behaviok in Captivity. These Teal have very rarely been imported into Eu- 
rope. They were kept in the Zoological Gardens in Calcutta, where they turned out 
to be inveterate fighters, well able to look out for themselves even in competition with 
the Whistling Teal (Finn, 1915). Butler mentions one at Port Blair that thrived 
well on “paddy,” but did not become very tame. 

The London Gardens reeeived specimens in June, 1903, and these bred in the years 
1905 and 1906 (Hubbard, 1907; Wormald, in litt.). The Berlin Gardens possessed 
specimens at least as early as 1894 (Miiller-Liebenwalde, 1894). 

Finn (1907) says that the drake accompanied the duck in a pair which bred in 
London. The female nested on the ground, and the birds were at all times very 
active, perching freely. Since that time a stock of inbred Mangrove Teal has been 
kept up in these gardens. In 1922 there was only a single bird left and this one was 
almost entirely white-headed. The Curator told me the whiteness of the head had 
been progressive in this stock the more it became inbred. 


A SUBSPECIES of this Teal, based on a much whiter head, and other characters which do not seem of 
importance, was named by J. H. Fleming in 1911. I rather doubt the validity of this race, but include 



it for the sake of completeness. This tendency to irregular white areas about the head was noticed 
by Finn (1907). It is probably analogous to the partial albinism found in the Laysan Teal, and due 
to close inbreeding in places where the species has been killed down to small numbers. Specimens in 
the British Museum from Port Blair and from Dungleaf Creek show a considenable amount of 
albinism, especially in a large, irregular patch at the base of the culmen and around the eye. A single 
bird which I saw at the London Gardens in 1922 was entirely white-headed and Mr. Seth-Smith told 
me that their stock became progressively whiter the more it was inbred. 


Characters: Only a small white ring around the eye. 

Distribution: Southern Andaman Islands. 


Polionetta albigularis leucopareus Fleming, Proc. Biol. Soc. Washington, vol. 24, p. 215, 1911. 

Characters: Irregular white area on face and neck. Head may be nearly all white, except on the 

Distribution: North Reef Isle, and also probably middle Andaman. 


(Plate 39) 


Anas hrasiliensis Gmelin, Linne’s Systema Naturae, ed. 13, vol. 1, pt. 2, p. 517, 1788. 
Anas mareca Bonnaterre, Encyclop. Methodique, vol. 1, p. 152, 1791. 

Anas ipecutiri Vieillot, Nouveau Dietionnaire d’Hist. Nat., vol. 5, p. 120, 1816. 
Mareca hrasiliensis Stephens, General Zool., vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 138, 1824. 

Anas paturi Spix, Aves Brasil., vol. 2, p. 85, 1825. 

Anas notata Wied {ex Illiger, MS.), Beitrage z. Naturg. Brasil., vol. 4, p. 634, 1832. 
Querquedula erythrorhyncha Eyton (nee Gmelin), Monograph Anatidae, p. 127, 1838. 
Querquedula ipecutiri G. R. Gray, List Birds British Mus., vol. 3, p. 138, 1844. 
Querquedula novcB kispanias Reichenbach {nec Gmelin), Synopsis Avium, Natatores, 
pi. 110, fig. 981-982, 1845. 

Querquedula hrasiliensis Liehtenstein, Nomenclator Avium Mus. Beroh, p. 102, 1854. 
Nettion hrasiliensis G. R. Gray, Hand-list Birds, vol. 3, p. 84, 1871. 

Nettion hrasiliense Salvador!, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 266, 1895. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Brazilian Teal. 

German: Brasilianische Krickente. 

French: Sareelle du Bresil. 

Dutch: Braziliaansche Taling. 

Brazilian: (Amazonia), Marreca-ananahy. 

Spanish: Ananahy, Pato azulijo, Patite de creciente, Pato portugues. 

Natives of British Guiana: Roppong. 


Adult Male : Anterior part of head brown; top of head, occiput and a band down upper side of neck 
black. Sides of the head, back of the eyes, and sides of neck, gray. Chin and throat brown. An 
irregular collar of black spots around the neck. Mantle and scapulars nearly uniform brown, with 
an olive tinge. Back and rump glossy black; upper tail-coverts light brown; tail black. Breast rusty 
brown, changing into a light gray on abdomen, all the lower surface being more or less marked with 
obsolete bars and spots. On the sides some large round black spots. Under tail-coverts like the 
abdomen. The wing is more brilliant and striking than in any other duck. Outer wing-coverts 
purplish black, except the last row of the greater ones, which are brilliant metallic green, like the 
outer secondaries. On the inner secondaries this green changes to dark purple or purplish green. The 



speculum is bounded by a narrow black bar behind, and a large white patch, consisting of the poste- 
rior half of the secondaries, which are very long. Primaries dark brown, with a green gloss on the 
outer webs. Tertials like the scapulars. Under wing-coverts black, axillars white. 

“Iris brown, bill dark crimson-red, legs and toes rich tomato red” (C. H. B. Grant, 1911). 
Wing 180-194 mm.; bill 38-40; tarsus 38. 

Adult Female : Like the male, but the brown of the forehead extends back over the whole top and 
back of head, and there is a white spot above and in front of the eye, and another at the base of the 
culmen. There are no black specks around the neck. The colors of the soft parts are entirely different 
from those of the male and show even in dried specimens. 

“Iris brown, bill dark olive-brown, legs and toes not nearly so bright as in the male” (C. H. B. 
Grant, 1911). 

Young in First Plumage: Similar to adult female (?). 

Young in Down: These look a good deal like the young of the Common Teal or of the Mallard. 
They are dark above and yellowish below. The face pattern is Mallard-like and the trans-ocular 
streak runs forward of the eye. The light-colored patches on the dorsal side are the same as in the 
Mallard and many other ducks but they appear a little more prominent, especially the rump-patches. 


The Brazilian Teal is a bird of eastern South America, and like most tropical species it is essentially 
non-migratory. Only at the extremities of its range can it be spoken of as really a seasonal visitor. 

In the north the species extends west as far as the Orinoco River in Venezuela. Von Berlepsch and 
Hartert (1902) have recorded it from Quiribana de Caicara, and Cherrie (1916) states that while it is 
not common on the Orinoco, he met with it at Bolivar, Altagracia, Caicara and Quiribana de Caicara. 
He found it abundant on the marshes near Las Guacas, on the San Feliz River. 

Farther east this Teal is common in British Guiana (R. Schomburgk, 1848; von Berlepsch, 1908; 
C. B. Dawson, 1916) and it is fairly common in Dutch Guiana also (F. P. and A. P. Penard, 1908-10). 
No doubt its status is much the same in French Guiana, for on the adjacent coast of Brazil it was 
found common and breeding (Goeldi, 1894-1900). 

In Brazil it seems to be generally distributed and apparently occurs throughout, excepting perhaps 
on the uppermost reaches of the Amazon. Natterer found it as far west as the Rio Branco (von 
Pelzeln, 1868-71). Goeldi (1894-1900) says it is common in northern Brazil, and he found it also 
on Marajo Island. It has furthermore been recorded from Para, Bahia, Matto Grosso, Minas 
Geraes, Rio Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul (H. and R. von Ihering, 1907). Nicoll (1908) 
says he has seen it at Bahia in winter. Mr. R. Gordon Harris WT-ites me that about Lossance (Minas 
Geraes) it is a fairly common bird, and that it breeds there. Salvadori (1900) has reported specimens 
from Carandasinho, near Corumba (Matto Grosso). 

In Bolivia the species has been recorded from near Caiza (Chaco) by Ldnnberg (1903), and the 
British Museum possesses a specimen taken near Salinas. Evidently the bird is only to be found in 
the lower regions of eastern Bolivia. It does not ci'oss the Andes, and there is no good evidence for 
Gay’s (1847) statement that it is found in Chile. Neither James (1892) nor Quijada (1910) includes 
it in their lists of Chilian birds. 

This Teal is common in Paraguay (Azara, 1805; von Berlepsch, 1887a; Kerr, 1901; C. H. B. 
Grant, 1911) and in northern Argentina it is plentiful on the Rio Parana and northward through the 
Chaco region to Tucuman (H. Burmeister, 1861; Hartert and Venturi, 1909). Bruch (1904) has 
recorded it for Oran in Salta, and Frenzel (1891) says it is common in Cordoba. It is a fairly common 
bird in Uruguay, and has been recorded from Concepcibn, Montevideo and Cerro Largo (Barrows, 

]VIap 55. Distribution of Brazilian Teal {Anas brasiliensis) 
Questionable sporadic record indicated by a cross (X?) 



1884; Aplin, 1894; Tremoleras, 1920). South of the La Plata, the Province of Buenos Aires is about 
the southern limit of its range. It has been recorded for this region by P. L. Sclater (1869a), Durn- 
ford (1878) and Hartert and Venturi (1909). E. Gibson (1920) states that at Cape San Antonio it 
occurs only in flood years, and is therefore called “Patite de creciente.” In all his long experience in 
that region he only once found the species breeding. This Teal is said to occur in Patagonia (C. V, 
Burmeister, 1888) but this must be exceptional, and the statement does not seem to be based on 
clear evidence. If the specimens taken by Darwin (Gould, 1841) in the Straits of Magellan, and 
described as Querquedula erythrorhyncha, really belong to this species the record is certainly remark- 
able, and must be regarded as extra-limital. 


Haunts. This so-called “Teal” as a matter of fact has no close relationship to 
any of the smaller ducks, not even to the Ring-necked Teal (Anas leucophrys) . In 
its general appearance, and particularly in the rounded form of the wing, it is 
entirely un-Mallardlike, if I may use that term. 

Throughout nearly the whole of its range it is confined to regions of tropical 
forests, where it frequents wood-enclosed waters, and often perches on the trees. 
Near Cape San Antonio, Argentina, where it is only a rare visitor and breeder, E. 
Gibson (1920) noticed that it was always found on waters in the vicinity of woods, 
and was partial to a pond in a wood, or even to a garden pond. In Guiana they are 
said to come to the coastal districts during seasons of drought, but as a general rule 
they do not show any preference for coastal or mangrove regions (E. P. and A. P. 
Penard, 1908-10). 

Wariness. Naturalists and travelers have always found this a tame bird, and 
one almost oblivious to the presence of man. Mr. R. Gordon Harris writes me that 
in the interior of Minas Geraes, Brazil, where he was collecting insects in 1919, this 
Teal was not nearly so wary as the Muscovy, and that it would leave the lakes only 
on extreme provocation. E. Gibson (1920) writing of the few pairs which occasion- 
ally visit his estancia, speaks of them as “surprisingly tame.” He frequently passed 
by them within ten yards, while they were sitting on a pond, or perched on a tree or 
the “ shears of a cattle well.” When on the wing they show^ed even less regard for the 
shooter than did the Yellow-billed Teal (Anas fiavirostris). 

Daily Movements. No information. 

Gait, Swimming, Diving, Perching. It would be interesting to know in what 
manner this bird feeds, whether it merely tips up like the Mallard, or whether it 
actually dives at times. In his letter to me, Mr. Harris speaks of their “swimming 
and diving about” in the water. 

The bird is a free percher not only in the breeding season but at other times of the 
year too (P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 1889; E. Gibson, 1920). 



Flight. The Brazilian Teal flies with wings rather depressed in such a way that 
in the proper light the observer is given a flne impression of the brilliant coloring on 
the coverts and secondaries. The flight is low and swift and the flocks are usually 
rather small, numbering from ten or twelve to twenty (E. Gibson, 1920; C. H. B. 
Grant, 1911; Harris, in lift.). 

Association with other Species. It seems to be a rather independent, and for 
its size, a rather aggressive bird when brought into contact with other ducks. 
Over nearly the whole of its range there are no other surface-feeding ducks for it to 
associate with, but it is found in the same waterways as the Muscovy, and it is said 
to associate with the White-faced Tree Duck, though the two species form separate 
flocks when flushed (R. Schomburgk, 1848; R. G. Harris, in litt.). 

Voice. The notes of the Brazilian Teal are easily distinguished from those of 
other so-called “Teal.” The male’s note has been described in various ways: as a 
“loud squeaking whistle” which bears no resemblance to that of Anas crecca (Hein- 
roth, 1911) and as a “strong piercing prolonged whistle” (Rogeron, 1903). To a less 
prosaic and somewhat sentimental observer the note seemed a “long, plaintive 
whistle, singularly pure and sweet in sound, and usually heard in the evening” 
during the “love-season” (P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 1889). This note is used both 
during flight and when on the water. Heinroth (1911) tells us that when highly 
excited and especially when the female was scolding at another denizen of the pond, 
the male utters a sound like wiwiwiwi, or at times simply a vnwi. 

The female has a quacking note, not different from that of other Teal, except that 
it is much louder. Heinroth (1911) says that when scolding, the female, too, utters a 
rough squeaking note. Mr. Harris, who at my request observed many of these birds 
in the field in Brazil, writes me that they utter a quacking note while swimming, 
and when startled and flying they give what he describes as a “grunt-like quack” 
often repeated, so that the birds could be heard before coming into sight. He 
evidently did not hear the male’s note at all. 

The trachea of the male was described but not figured by Eyton (1838). In a 
specimen which I saw in the U.S. National Museum the length was 130 mm.; it was 
uniform in caliber to the bifurcation where there is a well-defined tracheal bulb, 
roughly spherical, left-sided and about 9 mm. in diameter. It runs out anteriorly 
into a triangular-shaped bony lump. 

Food. I am not aware of any published notes concerning the food of these 
birds, and can only quote a meager note from Mr. Harris, based on three specimens. 
Of these three only one had been feeding recently and this had the oesophagus and 
gizzard full of marsh fruits, with one bulbous root, one planarian (flatwmrm) and 
one semi-digested insect, apparently one of the Orthoptera (grass-hoppers). 

Plate 39 


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Courtship and Nesting. Heinroth (1911), who had good opportunity to ob- 
serve these birds in the Berlin Gardens, failed to see any particular display. This 
absence of real display postures seems to be quite common in South American species, 
at least where both sexes are brilliantly colored. When mated the birds show excep- 
tional courage in attacking such large birds as swans or Semipalmated Geese, and 
there is little doubt that the males remain a long time with their mates, and as with 
the Chilian Widgeon, assist somewhat in guarding the brood and in bringing up the 

In the southern part of its range, E. Gibson (1920) found one nesting on his place 
on November 4, and Hartert and Venturi (1909) found another nest near Ocampo 
as late as January 2. In the tropical part of its range the breeding season is probably 
much more irregular, apparently lasting from August to January in northern 
Brazil (Azara, 1805; Goeldi, 1894-1900; Euler, 1900). 

The nest is usually located on the ground on the edge of a swamp or lagoon 
(Azara, 1805; Goeldi, 1894-1900; R. Schomburgk, 1848; Harris, in litt.). But the 
only Teal that E. Gibson (1920) ever found nesting on his estate in Buenos Aires 
Province had adopted a previous year’s nest of what was probably the Yellow- 
breasted Marshbird {Pseudoleistes virescens), situated in the top of a stunted tala tree 
about eight feet from the ground, and without any lining. The clutch had been only 
slightly incubated. I strongly suspect that tree-nesting sites are far more common 
than recorded observations would indicate. As a matter of fact very few actual nests 
have been described, and it seems unlikely that these birds would be able to nest on 
the ground in strictly tropical surroundings. 

The clutch numbers six or seven (Hartert and Venturi, 1909; E. Gibson, 1920) and 
the eggs are pure white in color, glossy, and inclined to be spherical in form. Indeed 
E. Gibson (1920) remarks that they might easily be attributed to an owl. The shell 
is not thick, but of china-like hardness, the worst he ever employed his drill upon. 
The measurements are 48-50 by 34-36 mm. The incubation period is unknown, but 
in an avicultural note (Audap, 1887) a female is described as commencing to sit on 
April 19 and hatching the eggs on May 18, making a period of twenty-nine days, 
which is imusually long for so small a duck. We cannot lay much stress on one 
record of this sort. In this same case the female began a second laying on June 9 
and recommenced incubation on June 21, while the male took care of the first 
brood! It is certainly almost unheard of that a female whose eggs have not been 
destroyed or removed, should begin a second clutch before the young are able to 
look after themselves. 

Status. This is the commonest of Brazilian Anatidoe, and, so far as one can say, 
has not been materially reduced in numbers in recent years, except, of course, in 
the vicinity of rising communities. 



Enemies. Nothing recorded. 

Damage. Probably none. 

Food Value. The flesh of this bird has been described as very good (Wied, 1832; 
R. G. Harris, in liti.). 

Hunt. Both this duck and the Muscovy are hunted by the natives in the interior 
of Brazil (Minas Geraes). Mr. Harris writes me that the weapons used are ordinarily 
old-fashioned shot-guns, but in out-of-the-way places the natives still occasionally 
catch them alive in traps. Sometimes live birds so caught can be bought in small 
settlements for about $1.50 each in our money. 

Behavior in Captivity. Although a somewhat rare bird in collections, it has 
been regularly kept in Europe for some time. The famous old Knowsley collection, 
which was sold in 1851, possessed specimens, but the London Gardens did not acquire 
any until 1864. These Teal bred in the Gardens in 1878 and 1879, and again in 
1886 and 1888. They were also kept in a number of private collections, where, as a 
rule, they have only occasionally bred. Mr. Wormald writes me that he has kept 
them, but not reared them, but this as well as many other species of ducks have been 
bred by Earl Grey {in litt.), and they were reared at Kew Gardens a number of years 
ago. In London they were rarely to be had; the price was £3 to £4 the pair, and 
doubtless at times much more. 

In France the species seems to have been first successfully bred by M. Audap 
(1887) on whose ponds a female laid eight eggs and began to sit on April 19. On the 
18th of May six eggs hatched and four young were reared. These were taken care of 
by the male, while the female, as related before, proceeded to lay a second clutch. 
M. Courtois (1880) says this was the only species of duck wLich did not lay eggs on 
his place. Neither Rogeron (1903) nor Mr. Blaauw {in litt.) ever bred them. Ap- 
parently they never were bred in the Berlin Gardens (Heinroth, 1911). 

In this country the species has aways been extremely rare in collections, for most 
of the live South American water-fowl are shipped to Europe. It has never been 
bred in confinement here. The New York Zoological Gardens have purchased them 
at times for $9.00 each, a price much lower than the private individual w’ould have 
to pay. 

It seems to do well enough in captivity. Thirty-four specimens in the London 
Gardens lived about three years on the average, with a maximum of ten years, six 
months (P. C. Mitchell, 1911). 

These Teal rank with the most beautiful of smaller water-fowl and it is a pity that 
more should not be imported so as to make them less expensive. I have never kept 



them myself, but a characteristic which has been often remarked by aviculturalists 
is their independent behavior, and their great courage in attacking birds like swans 
or Semipalmated Geese. Rogeron (1903) gives a long account of a jealous male that 
attacked a female Mallard whose husband was the object of attraction for the Bra- 
zilian’s mate. The Mallard Duck thoroughly trounced the plucky little Teal, and held 
him under water until he was very nearly drowned. Still, all through the breeding 
season, the pair of Brazilian Teal insisted on reserving part of the shelter house and 
part of the garden for their exclusive use. 

Hybrids. Crosses between this species and the Chestnut-breasted Teal {Anas 
castanea), the Ring-necked Teal {Anas leucophrys) and the Bahama Pintail {Anas 
hahamensis) , have been reared in confinement (Poll, 1911). The second of these, 
which was produced also by Earl Grey {in litt.), proved sterile (Poll, 1911), which 
is evidence that they are not very closely related. 



Anas torquata Vieillot {nec Gmelin), Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Hist. Nat., vol. 5, 

p. 110, 1816. 

Anas leucophrys Vieillot, Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Hist. Nat., vol. 5, p. 156, 1816. 
Querquedula manillensis Eyton (nec Gmelin), Monograph Anatidae, p. 125, 1838. 
Anas rubidoptera Dubois, Ornith. Gallerie, p. 90, pi. 57, 1839. 

Anas rhodopus Merrem, in Ersch and Grube’s Encyclop., sec. 1, vol. 35, p. 45, 1841. 
Querquedula torquata G. R. Gray, List Birds British Mus., pt. 3. p. 139, 1844. 
Querquedula leucophrys Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, p. 650, 

Nettion torquata G. R. Gray, Hand-list Birds, pt. 3, p. 83, 1871. 

Nettion torquatum Salvadori, Cat. Birds British Mus., vol. 27, p. 268, 1895. 

Vernacular Names 

English: Ring-necked Teal, Ringed Teal. 

German: Rotschulter Krickente. 

French: Sarcelle a collier (noir). 

Spanish: Pato collar negro. 


Adult Male: Forehead gray, changing into black which extends back as a broad stripe over top 
of head to hind neck, where it bifurcates, forming a half-collar. Remainder of head gray, streaked 
indistinctly with blackish. Mantle olive gray, scapulars rich chestnut. Back, rump, upper tail- 
coverts and tail black. Breast pinkish buff to light rose-color, and covered with round black spots. 
Abdomen gray, very finely vermiculated. Flanks gray, more sharply vermiculated. Under tail- 
coverts black in the middle, and white at the sides. Wing-coverts black except for a large white patch 
on the secondary coverts. Secondaries bronzy green on the outer web, forming a conspicuous specu- 
lum. Primaries dark brown. Tertials long, extending to or beyond the primaries, and dark olive 
brown in color. Under wing-coverts black, axillars black. 

Iris dark brown. Bill rich lead blue, with a black nail. Legs and feet a beautiful light lilac pink 
(captive specimens at Wenham). 

Wing 168 mm.; bill 36; tarsus 33. 

Adult Female: General color brown; superciliary stripe, middle of the cheeks, throat, and sides of 
the upper neck white; back and scapulars olive brown; rump and upper tail-coverts black; beneath 
dull whitish, with broad sub-apical pale-brown bands, better defined on the flanks; abdomen and 
under tail-coverts whitish, the latter powdered with dusky; wings as in the male; tail brown (Sal- 
vadori, 1895). Bill slightly duller blue than in male, and with a blackish saddlemark (Blaauw, 1919). 



Young Male in First Plumage; Somewhat like the adult female, but there is no pattern on the 
face, the barred flank feathers are absent and the breast and upper abdomen are spotted. The upper 
side is almost as in the adult female but more gray and less rich brown. Wing same as in adult 
female (specimens in Leyden Museum). 

Young Female in First Plumage: Said to resemble very closely the adult female and thus to 
differ considerably from the male at the same period. 

Young in Down : Pure white underneath and dull brownish gray above. There is a marked super- 
ciliary white streak and a narrow trans-ocular dark streak. There are the usual whitish patches on 
the wing-rudiments, scapular region and rump. Legs and feet grayish flesh-color. Bill pale lead-color. 

Remarks : The adult or breeding plumage is kept practically intact throughout the whole year and 
there is no return to a less ornamental stage during summer. This does not of course mean that 
the usual double moults may not take place. 


This rather rare Teal is confined to the countries bordering on the river basins of the La Plata 
region of South America. The northernmost record is for southern Bolivia, where it Bolivia 
was found in March and April near Caiza in the Chaco (Lonnberg, 1903). Kerr (1901) 
says it is common in the Paraguayan Chaco in November and December, and Dr. A. 

Wetmore writes me that he saw a few in that region. There are specimens in the British Museum 
from Villa del Pillar, southern Paraguay. Salvador! (1900) has recorded a pair taken at Uruman, 
Matto Grosso, Brazil, and in extreme southeastern Brazil, in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil 
the species is perhaps not imcommon. It was found by Aplin (1894) in Uruguay, 
and has been recorded from Cerro Largo, Uruguay, by Tremoleras (1920). Uruguay 

In the Argentine this Teal is found only in the northeastern part, where it is said to be common 
(Dabbene, in litt.). The U.S. National Museum has specimens from Corrientes, the British Museum 
from Entrerios, and Lillo (1902) has recorded it from Tucuman. According to Schultz 
{fide Dabbene, 1910) it is a resident bird in Cordoba. The range does not extend south 
of Buenos Aires Province. P. L. Sclater and Salvin (1869) have recorded it from Conchitas, and 
Hartert and Venturi (1909) from Barracas al Sur. P. L. Sclater and Hudson (1889) state that it is a 
strictly migratory bird in Buenos Aires, arriving in October, and that it is rare in the interior. E. 
Gibson’s (1920) more recent remarks are to the same effect. He says that the species is a rare visitor 
at Cape San Antonio, where it usually appears in September. 


Although usually placed next to the Brazilian Teal by systematists, there is no 
reason to suppose that the two species are at all closely related. Indeed, both of 
them are only distantly related to the “Mallard-like” ducks, and that is about all 
that can be said of them. We know less about the distribution, status and life- 
history of this species than of any South American duck, excepting perhaps the 
Brazilian Merganser. It inhabits tropical, mostly forested country, but it must be 
scarce even in the center of its range, for Mr, J. L. Peters, who in July, 1920, visited 
the Falls of the Iguazu, failed to get any trace of it along the main valley of the 
Parana. Perhaps it is an inhabitant of isolated forest pools or brooks, as E. Gib- 



son’s (1920) notes seem to indicate. It reaches Cape San Antonio (Buenos Aires) 
only in flood years, when individual pairs make their temporary abode in isolated 
ponds or pools, quite regardless of the nearby traffic or dwellings. 

Although in captivity it seems a peculiarly inactive bird, it is said to be very lively 
in its natural state, constantly flying about from place to place in the day or night 
(P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 1889). Full-winged birds in the Berlin Gardens perched 
skilfully, and flew well in a small flying-cage (Heinroth, 1911). 

Mr. N. Hollister, the Director of the National Zoological Park in Washington, has 
kindly made some notes on the voice for me. The female, he writes, has a sharp 
qu-ack, a two-syllabled note, well deflned, and not at all Mallardlike. He never 
heard any note from the male nor did I from the male I possessed. An aviculturalist 
of Heinroth’s (1911) acquaintance, a Mr. Samereier, compares the note of the male 
in the breeding season to the weak miau of a cat, the note being soft and long- 
drawn-out, while the bird at the same time lifts his head. 

These homely comparisons may be here relieved by the more artistic but perhaps 
less accurate description given by Hudson (in P. L. Sclater and Hudson, 1889). I 
quote: “On the water, especially in the evening, the male emits a long inflected note, 
plaintive and exquisitely pure in sound — a more melodious note it would be difficult 
to find, even among the songsters.” One cannot help wondering whether this is the 
same as the catlike miau described by the German fancier. However, Mr. McLean 
who with Mr. Wormald has bred many of these Teal at East Dereham in Norfolk, 
England, gave me a similar idea. He said that in the nesting season, which is very late, 
the male’s melodious note could occasionally be heard. It sounded to him something 
like the musical calls of the Long-tailed Duck, but even sweeter and more attractive. 
They had not begun to call when I saw his mated pairs on the 10th of May, 1922. 

The display in this species has not been well studied. I have never seen it but it 
has been described to me as a throw “ up and back ” of the head at the same time that 
the call-note is given. The head is never brought back far enough to touch the rump 
as in some species of diving ducks. Samereier ’s statement (in Heinroth, 1911) that 
in the breeding season the male lifts his head while uttering the catlike love-note, 
evidently refers to the same simple act. Mr. Stacy, the Head Keeper at the New York 
Zoological Park, told me that he once saw the Ring-necked Teal in a rather elaborate 
display, but he made no notes of it at the time and could not remember the exact 
nature of it. 

Neither the nest site, nest, nor even the eggs have been described, so far as I can 
make out. Blaauw’s birds generally laid seven eggs, and in an informal account by 
Alvarez (1913) six or eight is given as the size of the normal clutch. Mr. Blaauw’s 
captive birds seem to have preferred elevated nesting sites, and I think it extremely 
probable that in the natural state this bird commonly nests in trees. The incuba- 
tion period (under hens, at least) was about twenty-three days. 

!Map 56. Distribution of Ring-necked Teal {Anas leucophrys) 

& A. 



The Ring-necked Teal seems never to have reached Europe alive until about 1908, 
when the Berlin Gardens received a number of males, but no females. About the 
same time Mr. Blaauw acquired at least one specimen. Seth-Smith (1912) says 
about half a dozen males were imported into Germany at that time, and there must 
have been at least one female, for soon after, a few pairs, bred in Germany, were 
offered for sale. From this source the London Gardens obtained a pair in 1911, the 
first they had ever possessed. So far as I know, this pair never bred. But the stock 
which Mr. Blaauw obtained proved easy to breed, and he (1919) was soon able 
to give detailed descriptions of the various immature plumages. In England, Earl 
Grey has kept them. He writes me that they thrived but did not breed. Mr. Hugh 
Wormald, however, has bred them successfully, but I have no details concerning 
his experiences with them. I saw some at his place in May, 1922, but they had not 
commenced to breed. 

A few of these Teal reached America in 1914-15. They were probably captive- 
bred, and were offered for sale by Louis Ruhe in New York. The New York Zoologi- 
cal Society received a pair on August 12, 1914, and both of these birds were still 
living in July, 1921. The male, which I examined carefully in March, 1921, had 
become very much darker, almost melanistic, on the mantle, and to a lesser extent 
on the cheeks. Mr. Crandall informs me that another male which the Gardens kept 
for some years, had, by the time it died, become even darker than the one I exam- 
ined. The assumption of a melanistic plumage in captivity is rather common in 
many kinds of birds, but I never before knew of its occurrence in ducks. Mr. Blaauw 
thinks that the assumption of a dark plumage in his stock is a temporary affair 
coming and going with different moults. 

A pair which I acquired in the spring of 1915 arrived in very bad condition. The 
male never really recovered its health, and died in the course of a few months; the 
female lived a good deal longer, but I could never make any satisfactory observations 
on either of them. They were extremely independent, and never seemed to mingle 
with the other small water-fowl among which they were kept. 

No one has yet recorded much about breeding them. Mr. Blaauw (1919) says that 
his bird or birds deposited eggs in a box overhanging the water. The number of eggs 
was generally seven, and the incubation, presumably under a hen, about twenty- 
three days. One peculiar thing about Mr. Wormald’s birds was the very late nesting, 
which is seen regularly year after year. The earliest eggs ever deposited at his place 
were on June 1, the latest of all the ducks. To my knowledge the species has never 
been bred in the United States. 

Wild-caught birds have always been very hard to get and hand-reared stock is 
scarce and expensive, fetching around £12 the pair at the present time. 

Htbrids. In the Berlin Gardens this Teal has been crossed with the Brazilian 
Teal, but the offspring proved sterile (Poll, 1911), 


^A’,4S ACUTA Linne 
(Plate 40) 


Anas acuta Linne, Systema Naturte, ed. 10, vol. 1, p. 126, 1758. 

/Ina5 subulata S. G. Gmelin, Reise Russland, vol. 1, p. 13, pi. 1, 1771. 

Anas alandica Sparnnann, Mus. Carlsonianum, fasc. 3, pi. 60, 1788. 

Anas s'parrmanni Latham, Index Ornith., vol. 2, p. 876, 1790. 

caudacida Pallas, Zoographia Rosso-Asiatica, vol. 2, p. 280, 1811. 

Anas tzitzihoa Vieillot, Nouveau Dictionnaire d’Hist. Nat., vol. 5, p. 163, 1816. 
Dafila caudacida Stephens, General Zooh, vol. 12, pt. 2, p. 127, pi. 49, 1824. 
Trachelonetta acuta Kaup, Natiirl. Syst., p. 115, 1829. 

Anas caudata Brehm, Oken’s Isis, 1830, col. 997. 

Phasianurus acutns Wagler, Oken’s Isis, 1832, col. 1235. 

Qucrquedula acuta Selby, Illustrations British Ornith., vol. 2, p. 311, pi. 59-60, 1833. 
Dafila acuta Eyton, Cat. British Birds, p. 60, 1836. 

Qucrquedula caudacida Macgillivray, Manual Ornith., vol. 2, p. 170, 1842. 

Dafila longicauda Brehm, Naumannia, 1855, p. 297. 

Dafila caudata Brehm, Naumannia, 1855, p. 297. 

Dafila acuta a. americana Bonaparte, Compt. Rend. Acad. Sci. Paris, vol. 43, 
p. 650, 1856. 

fDafila modesta Tristram, Proc. Zool. Soc. London, 1886, p. 79, pi. 7. 

Vernacular Names 

English : Pintail, Sprig-tail, Gray Duck, Pied Gray Duck, Gray Widgeon, Sea Widgeon, 
Sea Pheasant, Split-tail, Spike-tail, Pike-tail, Picket-tail, Water Pheasant, Smee, 
Long-neck, Winter Duck, Cracker, Pile-start, Spindle-tail, Lady-bird, Harlan. 
French: Canard pilet, Pilet acuticaude, Pilet longue queue. Canard a queue effilee, 
Etiquenard, Canard long cul, Vingeon demars, Vingeon fourchu. Canard faisan. 
Canard hirondelle. Canard fleche. 

German: Spiessente, Spitzente, Pfeilschwanz, Pfriemenente, Nadelschwanz, Lang- 
hals, Schwalmente, Schwalbenente, Schnepfente, Graue Mittelente, Lerchen- 
ente, Fasanente, Spitzzackel. 

Dutch: Piljstaart, Langhals. 

Danish: Spidsand, Vinterand, Stjertand, Rumpeand, Strekand. 

N oncegian: Spidsand, Piland, Stjertand, Spirand. 

Su’crfisA; Stjartand, Spjutand, Viand. 













Plate 40 




Icelandic: Grasond, Grafond, Langvin graond. 

Gaelic: Lacha-mhara, Lacha-stuach, Lacha-stiuraeh. 

Lapplandic: Vuojas. 

Finnish: Jouhisorsa, Jouhihanta. 

Russian: Shilochwost. 

Polish: Kaczka rozenice. 

Czech: Ostralka. 

Hungarian: Nyilfarku recze. 

Italian: Codone, Anatra di coda lunga, Germano marino, Coda lancea, Carrabaru. 
Sardinian: Agu. 

Spanish: Rabilargo, Cua de chunc, Arrabio, Rabijunco, Anach marsench, Cua blarg, 
Cua d’auroneta, Cua de jonch. 

Lettish: Garkaklis. 
Croatian: Patka lastarka. 

Portuguese: Rabijunco, Arrabio. 

Maltese: Silfiun. 

Bengali: Dighans, Sho-lon-cho. 

Nepalese: Digunch. 

Ostiaks: Kurek. 

Kamchatka: Kagachynatch. 

Japanese: Onagagamo. 

Eskimo: Imooak, Nah-ling-eiv-e-nuk, Uk-shuk-uk. 
Mexican: Tzitzihoa. 

Arabic: Bat, Batteh. 

Hindu: Sinkpar. 

Sindhi: Kokarali, Drighush. 
Tartar: Siksedum. 

Korean: Heitshogatshi. 
Kuriles: Pakarichu. 


Adult Male: Head and upper neck gray, but darker and browner on the crown. Hind neck black, 
with a purplish gloss. Lower surface white, extending up on sides of breast and neck to a point on 
each side at the hind neck. Mantle, upper scapulars and flanks finely vermiculated with black and 
white wavy lines. Lower scapulars black, some of them with white margins. Back and rump gray. 
Central tail-feathers very long, pointed and black in color. Remainder of tail gray and buffy. Wing- 
coverts bluish gray, except the last row which carries a brown band. Speculum bronzy green mar- 
gined posteriorly with a black, and then with a white bar. Speculum framed on the interior margin 
with black. Primaries blackish. Tertials gray and black. Lower abdomen finely speckled with gray. 
Sides of rump white, under tail-coverts black, except the outer ones which have a white edge. Under 
wing-coverts brown and white; axillars white with a brown shaft. 

Iris dark brown. Bill black on the top of culmen and on nail, with the sides lead-blue. Legs 
and feet grayish or bluish gray. 

Wing 260-280 mm.; bill 48-52; tarsus 39^4; tail very variable, up to 200 mm. 

Weight 1 pound 10 oimces to 2 pounds 12 ounces (0.73 to 1.24 kilograms); only rarely above 
2 pounds 8 ounces. 

Adult Female: Top of head brown streaked with black. Rest of head and neck buffy or gray, 
streaked with dark brown or blackish. Mantle and scapulars dark gray to black, streaked and often 



barred with white or buff color. Back and rump mottled gray and brown; tail brown. Lower parts 
mostly white with more or less indication of brownish bars and spots. Wing without a metallic 
speculum, but with an anterior and a posterior white wing-bar. Primaries dark brown. Under wing- 
coverts mottled. Axillars more or less barred with brown and darker than in male. 

Iris dark brown. Bill bluish horn-color. Legs and feet greenish gray. 

Wing 242-266 mm.; bill 45-50; tarsus 39-42. 

Weight 1 pound 2 oimces to 1 pound 14 ounces (0.51 to 0.85 kilograms). 

Young Female in First (Juvenal) Plumage: Very similar to adult female, but much more 
streaked with gray on the whole lower surface. 

Young Male in First Plumage: Like the young female, but the mantle is usually more conspicu- 
ously barred, and as soon as the wing feathers appear, the brilliant speculum of the male serves to 
distinguish it from the female. In September or October a few obscurely vermiculated feathers begin 
to appear on mantle, scapulars, or flanks. 

Male in Eclipse : Darker and grayer than adult female, especially on the occiput, lower scapulars 
and tertials. The mantle and scapulars are more or less finely vermiculated with gray, the chin and 
throat are more spotted, and the lower side is somewhat streaky. The metallic speculum is always 
present unless the flight feathers have just been dropped. The eclipse male in this species is therefore 
a good deal less like the female than in many other ducks. 

Young in July, before flight feathers are grown : Somewhat like the Mallard at a corresponding age, 
but there is no dark streak through the eye, and the top of the head is browmer and less black. 

Young in Down : Grayer and less yellowish on the lower side than the Mallard, with the eye-streak 
less defined, and with a brown area on the cheeks merging with the dark ocular patch. White body- 
spots as in the Mallard. 


The Pintail is one of the most widely distributed of all the ducks, being found throughout Europe 
and Asia, in parts of Africa, and in the greater part of North America. 

Breeding Area 

In America the Pintail breeds throughout a very extensive range, but as in the Old World, less 
commonly south of 55°. To start with Alaska: Nelson (1887), w'ho recorded it for the extreme 
America eastern Arctic coast of Siberia, found it also on St. LawTence Island in Bering Strait, 
and speaks of it as very abundant on the Alaskan shore of the Bering Sea, extending 
rarely to Point Barrow. F. S. Hersey (1916) did not see it north of Cape Espenberg, but C. H. Town- 
send (1887) and J. Grinnell (1900) record it as common in Kotzebue Sound, while Murdoch (1885) 
found it breeding near Point Barrow. Nelson (1887) found it on the Alaskan coast south to the mouth 
of the Kuskoquim, and has no doubt that it breeds on the Aleutians. There is no evidence of its 
breeding or occurring in this archipelago, however, except that L. M. Turner (1886) says it is found 
sparingly on Unalaska in November, but not later. Recently specimens have been taken on 
St. Paul Island in the Pribilovs, in May (Evermann, 1913). At the base of the Alaska Peninsula 
Alaska common (Osgood, 1904), but it breeds in Glacier Bay on the south coast 

(Sw'arth, 1922) and has been recorded for Kadiak and Sitka by Bischoff {fide Baird, 
Brew'er and Ridgw^ay, 1884). In the interior of Alaska the speeies seems to be abundant throughout 
the Yukon Valley, from the mouth at St. Michael’s (Bishop, 1900; F. S. Ilersey, 1917), upstream 

Map 57. Distribu oi 

Breeding range, dott ( L 

IT f 

* ' Pintail {Anas acuta) 

Sf winter range, broken line 




at Nulato (Dali, 1874), Fort Yukon and the Porcupine River (Ibbiston and Lockhart, Baird, 
Brewer and Ridgway, 1884). Although rare at Point Barrow, the species unquestionably occurs all 
along the Arctic coast of Alaska, for eastward it has been recorded from Barter Island (R. M. 
Anderson, 1917) and Demarcation Point (W. S. Brooks, 1915), the MacKenzie Delta and Cape 
Bathurst (Stefansson, 1913) and Liverpool and Franklin Bays (MacFarlane, 1908). Stefansson says 
it breeds on the Arctic coast east to Coronation Gulf. From here the eastern limit of the breeding 
range extends southeastward until it strikes Hudson Bay at the 60th parallel. In the area west of 
Hudson Bay and north of about 55° is to be found the great breeding ground of the Western 
species. Within this area it was found very common in the whole region north and Canada 
west of Lake Athabasca by Preble (1908), who (1902) also found it abundant on the coast of Hud- 
son Bay from York Factory north to about 60°. Kennicott (^de Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 
1884) states that most of the birds breed north of Great Slave Lake and according to MacFar- 
lane (1908) it is a very common breeder in the whole Anderson River valley, as well as on 
the Barren Grounds, where Richardson (Jide Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) also found it 
abundant. In the whole area east and west of the MacKenzie, especially the territory about 
Great Slave and Great Bear Lakes it seems to be a particularly common species. Although it becomes 
rarer as a breeder the farther south one goes, it is still quite common on the west coast in British 
Columbia (Kermode, 1904) and inland in Athabasca (Frank Russell, 1898; Preble, 1908; Buchanan, 
1920), Alberta (Spreadborough, jMe J. and J. M. Macoim, 1909; Stansell, 1909; W. S. Brooks and 
Cobb, 1911), Saskatchewan (Raine, 1892; Bent, 1907 ; Ferry, 1910), and Manitoba (E. E. Thompson, 
1891; Raine, 1892; Taverner, 1919). It apparently breeds also in Ontario. I have seen them very 
numerous in Hannah Bay (southern James Bay) myself in August, and I am convinced that some of 
these must have bred near there. Spreadborough (^de J. and J. M. Macoun, 1909) found it breeding 
on both the east and the west coasts of James Bay, and there is a young bird without wing feathers 
taken at Fort George (east coast) in the Museum of Comparative Zoology. In southern Ontario it 
breeds in small numbers on St. Clair Flats (Saunders, ^de Mcllwraith, 1894) and not rarely on the 
north shore of Lake Erie (Cooke, 1906), where in my opinion it seems to be increasing, for I saw 
several late broods imable to fly as late as October 2, 1916, in this region. Although Eastern 
there are nine records of the occurrence of this species in Labrador, one as far north as Canada 
Ungava Bay (C. W. Townsend and Allen, 1907; C. W. Townsend, 1913), I do not believe the species 
ever nests there, and these records must therefore be regarded as sporadic. The same is true of the 
seven odd records given by Winge (1899) for the west coast of Greenland, where the Qj-ggjjand 
species has occurred as far north as Upernavik and as far south as Julianehaab. 

Schmitt (1904) states that the species breeds regularly on Anticosti Island, but this is very excep- 
tional, if true at all. According to Osgood a young bird in down belonging to this species was taken 
on the Magdalen Islands, but this too seems very remarkable. Chamberlain (1882) states that it 
breeds sparingly in New Brunswick, but this cannot be accepted. I am very skeptical regard- 
ing any breeding record east of 80° west longitude. West of this meridian the species breeds rarely 
in the United States as far east as Mississquoi Bay, Lake Champlain (J. B. Clark, in litt.) and 
on St. Clair Flats (Saunders, McRwraith, 1894) and Rondeau, Michigan, as well as on Charity 
Isle, Lake Huron, Michigan {Wood, fide Barrows, 1912). In Wisconsin it breeds (Kumlien and 
Hollister, 1903; Cooke, 1906) rarely in the south, specifically at Grass Lake and Depere (U.S. 
Biological Survey) and now regularly at Delavan (Hollister, 1919). Cooke (1906) records two 
instances of the species breeding in northern Blinois, namely, at Calumet and at Will, United 
while according to Woodruff (1907), it has once nested in the Chicago district. West States 
of the Mississippi it has nested accidentally at Kansas City, Missouri (Cooke, 1906), while farther 
north it breeds in Hancock County, Iowa (Cooke, 1906; R. M. Anderson, 1907) and rarely in south- 
ern Minnesota ; it nests more commonly in the central part of this State, and in fairly good numbers 
in the northern sections (Hatch, 1892). Cooke (1906) mentions Faribault, Waverley and Heron 



Lake as specific breeding localities in Minnesota. The Pintail breeds commonly in North Dakota 
(Bent, 1901-02; Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) and sparingly in South Dakota (McChesney, 
1879), according to Cooke (1906) at Vermilion, Scotland and Running Water in particular, while 
Visher (1909) says it breeds abundantly in certain counties. Cooke (1906) reports Kennedy and Hay 
Lake as the localities in which the species has bred in Nebraska, and recently Oberholser (1920) has 
stated that it nests commonly in the sandhill regions of the western districts, but I find no 
records of its nesting in Kansas. In Colorado it nests in Larimer, one of the northern counties 
(Smith, Breninger) as well as at Barr Lake near Denver, where it is not at all uncommon as a breeder 
(L. J. Hersey and Rockwell, 1909). North of Colorado, in Wyoming, the Pintail breeds, but is appar- 
ently rare (Grave and Walker, 1913; W. C. Knight, 1902). Cooke (1906) mentions Lake Desmet 
as a particular locality. It breeds in various suitable localities in Montana (A. A. Saunders, 1921) 
and farther west the species undoubtedly breeds in Idaho (Baird, Brewer and Ridgway, 1884) and 
certainly does so in Washington (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909), specifically at Mabton (Cooke, 
1906). It appears to be a not rare nester at Malheur Lake in Oregon, and Cooke (1906) mentions 
Rock Creek Sink as a definite locality for that State. On the other hand this duck is so much more 
common as a breeding bird in California that I do not believe it is to be regarded as a sporadic nester 
in the State. Grinnell, Bryant and Storer (1918) quote authorities for its nesting in Sutter, Alameda, 
Merced, Kings, Kern, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties. This is apparently the 
region in which the breeding range extends farther south than anywhere else in the world. For the 
region lying between California and Colorado I find that it has several times been met with in mid- 
summer in Nevada at Washoe Lake (Hanford, 1903) and on the Humboldt River (W. C. Hanna, 
1904), while in Utah a considerable number breed on the Bear River marshes (Wetmore, 1921). 
Cooke (1906) states that it breeds questionably at Mormon Lake, Arizona, and I have little doubt 
that it breeds in suitable localities in the northwestern part of this State, as well as in Nevada and 

In the Old World its breeding range extends north to 71° 30' or even 72° and south normally to 
Europe it breeds commonly only north of 60°. In Iceland it is known to 

breed not rarely, and has been long known to do so, as is shown by Hantzsch’s (1905) 
compilation of recent dates. It is only a very rare straggler to Greenland; there is one 
specimen from Nanortalik in the Schioler collection (Schioler, 1912). As far as I know it has never 
been recorded as actually breeding on the Faroes, though it is not rare there in summer, 
and undoubtedly breeds occasionally (H. C. Mtiller, 1869). Millais (1902) says that a 
few nest on the Faroes, his information probably coming from later verbal statements of MUller. 
Shetlands Henderson (1906) in recent years, has reported its nesting on the Shetlands, but it ap- 
parently does so only rarely. In Scotland, on the other hand, it is known to have bred 
in the Orkneys, on the Outer and Inner Hebrides, in Sutherland and Kinross, Moray, 
Inverness, South Fife, Selkirk, as well as in other localities (Baxter and Rintoul, 1921). There seems 
England some doubt as to whether the species breeds in England, though it has apparently 

done so in Northumberland (Seebohm, 1885). According to Payne-Gallwey (1882) 
it has nested in Ireland in Queen’s County, and in Galway. There are no other breed- 
ing records for Ireland (Ussher and Warren, 1900). On the Continent this duck nests in small 
Germany numbers in certain localities in Germany, having been recorded from Schleswig- 
Holstein, Mecklenbrng, Oldenburg, Westphalia, Hesse-Cassel, Brunswick, eastern 
Prussia, Brandenburg, Silesia, Saxony, Anhalt and doubtfully from Bavaria. In parts of Branden- 
burg and Silesia it appears to breed not uncommonly (Naumann, 1896-1905). It may be well to 
mention here the southern breeding records for Europe, all of which are to be regarded as unusual. 
One nest was taken in 1909 on the island of Texel, Holland (Van Eecke, Ardea, vol. 1, p. 67, 1912). 

In France the species seems to breed sparingly on La Brenne plateau, southeast of 
Tours (Martin, 1887), and occasionally on the Maine River (Rogeron, 1903). Clarke 















(1895) in recent years ascertained its presence in summer at the mouth of the Rhone. In Spain, ac- 
cording to A. Chapman and Buck (1910), it breeds in considerable numbers in wet 
years on the marismas of the lower Quadalquivir, Andalusia. Irby (1883) saw it in 
May at Santander on the coast of the Bay of Biscay, but I doubt its breeding there. In Switzerland 
it has bred a few times, but Fatio (1904) is probably correct in regarding these records 
as exceptional. The species has been met with several times in June and even July, in 
Italy, but probably does not breed (Picchi, 1904) although Naccari {fide Giglioli, 1886) claims it has 
nested in the vicinity of Venice. Fritsch (1872) and Schier (fide Naumann, 1896-1905) 
record the occasional nesting of this species in Bohemia, while in Hungary it breeds 
(Baldamus, 1858), specifically at Buzinka (Fischer, jide von Dalla-Torre and von Tschusi, 

1885, p. 546), on Neusiedler Lake, at Balaton, and perhaps on Valencze Lake (Chernel, 
fide Naumann, 1896-1905). According to Szikla (ibid.) it has nested at Stuhlweissen- 
burg in Transylvania, and this seems very likely, for Danford and Harvie-Brown 
(1875) found it in May in the same district, though it was not common there. In the 
Balkans a few may nest in Montenegro, on Lake Scutari (Reiser and von Fiihrer, 

1896). It has been met with as late as May 25 at Nicopolis, Bulgaria, on the Dan- 
ube (Reiser, 1894), and according to Hristovic {fide Reiser, 1894) has bred at Drago- 
man, not far from Sofia. Going north, I find it recorded as breeding throughout 
Scandinavia, in Denmark (Kjarbolling, 1850), and in Norway (Collett, 1873; Schaan- 
ning’, 1913) as well as in Sweden (Siindstrom, Dresser, 1871-81). The species appears to be rare 
as a breeder in southern parts of the peninsula, however, becoming common in the north only, as at 
Tromsb (Hartwig, 1889). In the Baltic it has nested on the islands Oland (Siindstrom, jfde Dresser, 
1871-81; Nilsson, 1858) and Gotland (WaUengren, 1854). According to Palmen (1876) the Pintail 
has bred in Finland south even to Helsingfors, but Palmgren (1913) says there is only one breeding 
record for the Helsingfors district. It nests only rarely in the southern districts, becoming a little 
more common in central Finland (Suomalainen, 1908), rather commonly in Karelia (von Nordmann, 
1864), abimdantly at Uleaborg (Dresser, 1871-81) and in eastern Finmark (Schaanning, 1907). Far- 
ther north it was found breeding in Lapland Enontekiensis (Suomalainen, 1912; Montell, 1917) 
as well as in Russian Lapland (Pleske, 1886) and on the Murman coast (Nikolski). In Russia proper 
it breeds abundantly throughout the northern sections south to about 60°. For this 
region it has been variously recorded for Shishgin Light on the White Sea (E. von 
Middendorff, 1891), the Kanin Peninsula (Goebel, 1873), and the lower Petchora (Seebohm, 1880a). 
At Archangel it also breeds abundantly (Goebel, 1873; Alston and Harvie-Brown, 1873), while far- 
ther south it has been recorded for Olonetz Government (Bianchi, 1914), Ladoga (Liljeborg, 1852; 
Meves,Jide Naumann, 1896-1905) and for Onega (Sievers, 1877). In the Petrograd Government it 
is not exactly common as a breeder (Buchner, 1885; Bianchi, 1907), but eastward of the capital it 
nests commonly in the Novgorod Government (Bianchi, 1910) and also in Vologda (Andreeff and 
Bianchi, 1910). According to SabanaefP (Harvie-Brown, 1878) it is common everywhere in the Urals 
of the Perm Government, and according to Russki (1893) it breeds also in Kazan. Passing west- 
ward, I find that it has been recorded breeding in Moscow and Tula (Menzbier, 1883; Lorenz, 1892), 
and it probably does so in decreasing numbers in the whole region between Tula and Charkov, 
or even Ekaterinoslav, where it nests sparingly (Czernay, 1852; Valkh, 1911). It does not breed in 
the Crimea or in Cherson (Brauner, 1894, 1899) but does so rarely in Kief (Harvie-Brown, 1878). 
Farther west it is known to breed in small numbers in Poland (Taczanowski, 1888), but more com- 
monly in the Baltic Provinces, Kurland, Esthonia and Livonia (Loudon, 1909; Goebel, 1873). Before 
passing over into Asia I wish to mention the two remarkable records of the occurrence of this species 
north of Europe, namely, on Bear Island, July 15, and on Bell Sound, western Spitzbergen, Jime 
13, 1898 (KolthoS, 1903), and farther east on Waigats Island (Popham, 1898). Judging from the 
dates it seems possible that the birds may have been breeding in Spitzbergen, unlikely as such an 
assumption seems. 






I find no authentic record of the Pintail having ever bred in Africa, although its occurrence as late 
as May at various localities along the Nile has led some writers to think that such might be the case. 

At Khartum it has been seen as late as June 1 (Vierthaler, fide Naumann, 1896- 1905). 
In southeastern Europe and southwestern Asia it breeds in Astracan (Seebohm, 1882) 
and at Sarepta on the Volga (Moeschler, 1853) as well as throughout the Kirgis (Susch- 
kin, 1900; Nazarow, 1887) and undoubtedly also in Orenburg (Zarudny, 1889-90). The species 
breeds in the Caucasus (Radde, 1884) and in Transcaucasia on Lake Gotschai (Grosmann.^de Nau- 
mann, 1896-1905). Both Radde (1886) and Zarudny (1911) state that it nests rarely on the south 
Caspian, and the latter (1886, 1889-90) was told that it nested in Transcaspia at Merv; he himself 
found it on the Tedshen River in May. In Turkestan its southern breeding limit seems to be the 
mountain range of northern Persia and northern Afghanistan. Of course it does not breed in the des- 
ert regions of Turkestan north of Persia, that is, in the Kara-kum Desert, on the Ust-urt plateau, or 
the Kysyl-kum Desert, but it does nest in southeastern Turkestan, at least in Pamir (Severtzoff, 
1883). Its status in this region is stiU far from being definitely determined, but I am quite confident 
that, like most species, it does not breed south of Pamir in the northwestern Himalaya region. East 
of Pamir, however, it breeds in northern Yarkand (Scully, 1876; Koslow, 1899) as well as in southern 
Kashgaria (Koslow, 1899). I do not doubt that it breeds in the W'estern Tien-shan, and on Lake 
Issyk-kul, though I can find no evidence to substantiate this opinion. North of this region it breeds 
everywhere in central Asia and western Siberia, more rarely, of course, in the southern parts than in 
the north. Finsch (1879) found the species on the Ala-kul in May, and on the Marka-kul in June. 
Suschkin (1913) tells us that it breeds in the Russian Altai, and in Minussinsk, but this is perhaps its 
eastern limit in this region, for the birds certainly do not breed in the Dsungari Desert and probably 
not in the extreme eastern Altai. In central Asia the species was foimd in July in the Akmolinsk 
Government, and there can be no doubt of its breeding there (Bianchi, 1902). Passing northward the 
species breeds throughout the Tomsk and Tobolsk Governments, commonly on Lake Chany (Finsch, 
1879; P. and J. Zalesski, 1915). It was also met with on the Tabol River at Jalutorow'sk and on the 
lower Ob at Obdorsk (Finsch, 1879). On the Shchuchja River, which flows into the Ob on the left 
below Obdorsk, young were taken in August (Finsch, 1879). Farther north still it has been recorded 
for the Yamal Peninsula by Zitkov (1912) and westward for the Arctic island Waigats by Popham 
(1898). Passing eastward again, we find the species breeding abundantly in the valley of the Jenesei 
north to 72° (Popham, 1897, 1898) and south to Jeneseisk (Seebohm, 1879, 1880; Popham, 1897, 
1898), although Palmen (1887) gives 70° 30' as its northern limit on the Jenesei. A. von Middendorff 
(1853) found the species breeding on the Boganida. The southern limit of the breeding range in east- 
ern Siberia is also rather vague, but we may assume that, as wdth many other species, the Pintail also 
breeds south to the northern boundary of the Mongolian deserts. Lonnberg (1909) has recorded 
specimens taken May 22 to 25 near Bura, and thinks it undoubtedly nests in northern Mongolia. 

The species breeds rarely south of 55°, however, and Radde (1863) found this to be true 
in the eastern Sajan Mountains, while Taczanowski (1874) says the same for Transbai- 
kalia. On the middle Amur the Pintail is not uncommon (Radde, 1863) and breeds also 
on the Sungari (von Schrenck, 1859). Prjevalski (1878) says it undoubtedly breeds on the Dalai-nor, 
and it certainly does so, sparingly at least, on Lake Hanka. He speaks of it as abundant also on the 
lakes of the Hoang-ho valley, but he must be referring to migration. Oustalet (1894) interpreting his 
English differently, concludes that it breeds there, a position which hardly seems tenable. Lake Hanka 
is a southern record for eastern Siberia, and even farther north the species is rare in the Amur country 
(von Homeyer, 1870), especially at the mouth of the river (von Schrenck, 1859). I am unable to say 
whether it breeds on Saghalin or not, but Borrissow {fide Hesse, 1915) found it there in May, and 
also took eggs which he thought belonged to this duck. Thayer and Bangs (1916) have recorded 
specimens taken in May at Sakachana. Taken all in all I believe the birds probably nest on the 
island, at least in the northern sections. I find no information concerning any occurrence on the Lena 





beyond the notes of Maak (1859) and von Bunge and von Toll (1887). The first recorded it from 
Yakutsk and describes it as a common breeder on the Lena and Wiljui. The latter have recorded it 
from Werchojansk and say that many breed on the Adytsha River and that the range extends to 
70° north latitude on the Jana. According to Palmen (1887) it breeds at the mouth of the Jana, 
71° 20', and it was found abimdant eastward at the mouth of the Kolyma (Thayer and Bangs, 1914; 
Riley, 1918) while eggs were taken even farther east on Chaun Bay. From Kamchatka the species 
has been recorded by von Ditmar (1900) and Barrett-Hamilton (1900) and there are downy yoimg 
in the Kuroda collection from that Peninsula. According to both Stejneger (1885) and Bianchi 
Commander (1909) it is abundant on the Commander Islands in summer, where it also breeds. On 
Islands tj^e north coast of the Ochotsk Sea it was found to be very common aroimd Gichiga 
(J. A. Allen, 1905) and according to this writer many go farther north to nest, a statement which 
gives some additional weight to Nelson’s (1887) remark that it is the commonest breeder on the 
Arctic coast west as well as east of Bering Strait. 

Winter Range 

Costa Rica 


West Indies 

In North America the Pintail winters as far south as Panama (P. L. Sclater and Salvin, 1864; W. 
Stone, 1918) and Colon (de Armas, 1893). Northward it winters, though rarely, on the Panama 
coasts and in the interior of Costa Rica (Carriker, 1910; von Frantzius, 1869; Rich- 
mond, 1893), and in Nicaragua at the Lake (Nutting, 1882; Rendahl, 1919). I find 
no record of its occurrence in Honduras, but Salvin {fide Salvin and Godman, 1897-1904) found 
it on Lake Duenas, Guatemala, and at Belize, British Honduras. In Mexico the 
species winters throughout, and has been variously recorded from Jalapa, Vera 
Cruz (P. L. Sclater, 1857), the Laguna del Mayorazgo and San Baltasar, Puebla (Ferrari-Perez, 
1886), the Valle de Mexico (Villada, 1891-92; Herrera, 1888; Sanchez, 1877-78), Guanajuato (Duges, 
1869; Sanchez, 1877-78), Jalisco (Duges, 1869; Sanchez, 1877-78; Beebe, 1905), Zacatecas (Richard- 
son, British Museum), Tamaulipas (Phillips, 1911), Mazatlan, Sinaloa (Lawrence, 1874; Sanchez, 
1877-78) and Cachuta, Sonora (J. A. Allen, 1893). According to Belding (1883) the species is com- 
mon also in southern Lower California at La Paz and San Juan del Cabo. In the West 
Indies it is known from the Greater Antilles, namely Jamaica, where it is common 
(P. L. Sclater, 1910), and Cuba, where it is also numerous (Gundlach, 1875). It has been recorded 
also from Porto Rico (Gundlach, 1878) but Cooke (1906) says there is only one authentic record, 
while according to Wetmore (1916) its occurrence on the island is questionable. From observations 
made by L’Herminier (Lawrence, 1879) some seventy-five years ago, the species occurred also on 
Guadeloupe in the Lesser Antilles. In the United States the species is common in United 
winter in all of the Gulf States, in Texas (Dresser, 1866; Strecker, 1912), in Louisiana States 
(Beyer, Allison and Kopman, 1907), in Mississippi (U.S. Biological Survey), Alabama (Golsan and 
Holt, 1914), Florida (Cory, 1896; Scott, 1888, 1892) and along the Atlantic coast through Georgia, 
the two Carolinas (Wayne, 1910; and others) and the Virginias (Rives, 1890). It winters less com- 
monly even farther north through Maryland (Kirkwood, 1895) and Delaware (Rhoads and Pennock, 
1905), but is rare in winter in New Jersey, or at least uncommon (Cooke, 1906; W. Stone, 1909). 
It is also rare in winter on Long Island, New York (Eaton, 1910), and in Connecticut (G. M. Allen, 
1909), apparently also at various points along the lower Connecticut River (Forbush, 1912), once at 
Lynn, Massachusetts (Cooke, 1906), and at Portland, Maine (Norton, 1912). Inland, a few winter 
in southern Pennsylvania (Warren, 1890), in southern Ohio (Gossard and Harry, 1912; L. Jones, 
1903), doubtfully in southern Michigan (Cook, 1893), rarely but pretty regularly in southern Indiana 
(A. W. Butler, 1898), and in southern Illinois (Ridgway, 1895). In recent years the species has been 
regularly wintering locally in Wisconsin (Kumlien and Hollister, 1903; Cooke, 1906). South of the 
Ohio and east of the Mississippi it winters presumably in West Virginia (Rives, 1890), in Kentucky 
(Audubon) and undoubtedly also in Tennessee. West of the Mississippi, the Pintail winters in 







southern Missouri (Widmann, 1907) and Arkansas (Howell, 1911), presumably in Oklahoma, as 
well as in southern Kansas, rarely in Colorado north to Barr Lake (L. J. Hersey and Rockwell, 
1909), in New Mexico (Cooke, 1906) and Arizona (Swarth, 1914), undoubtedly in Utah, rarely in 
Nevada (HofFman, 1881), but commonly throughout California (Grinnell, Bryant and Storer, 
1918), in Oregon (Pope, 1895-96) and in Washington (W. L. Dawson and Bowles, 1909; Rathbun, 
1915) extending north on the coast as far as southern British Columbia, being abundant everywhere 
in the vicinity of Puget Sound (Rathbun, 1915; Kermode, 1904). Mr. A. M. Bailey of the U.S. 
Biological Survey (MS.) says that a few wdnter even in southea.stern Alaska. 

The Pintail reaches its northernmost wintering grounds in the west of Europe where it spends the 
cold season on the coasts of the British Isles. According to Seebohm (1885) it is common on the 
Europe south and east coasts of England, but rare on the west coast, and the same seems to be 
British Scotland (G. R. Gray, 1871). I have not been able to find any wintering 

Isles records for the Shetlands or the Faroes, on which islands the species seems to occur 

only on passage to and from Iceland. In Ireland, however, it appears to occur in winter in the inte- 
rior, as well as on the coast, but it is rare in the northern counties, as in Antrim, Londonderry, Down 
and Donegal. South of Athlone it is commoner, especially in Clare, Connaught and Kerry (Payne- 
Gallwey, 1882; Ussher and Warren, 1900). On the Continent the species winters as 
far north as the southern coasts of Norway (Collett, 1871; Schaanning, 1913), and 
probably to some extent in Denmark and Holland. Dubois (1912) states that it is com- 
mon in Belgium on passage, but says nothing of its wintering in the country. According 
to Dresser (1871-81) and Paris (1907) it winters in France, but it is probably rare 
in the northern parts in winter. Martin (1887) states that a few winter on La Brenne Plateau, 
southeast of Tours, while in southern France, Lord Lilford (1875) found the species in the Cannes 
market on December 29. The British Museum has specimens from Arcachon, southwest of Bordeaux, 
taken in January and November. The Pintail does not regularly winter in Germany, 
Germany been known to do so at Hamburg, Holstein, Oldenburg, Rhine Palatinate, 

Switzerland Brunswick, Neuwied, Bavaria and more commonly in Baden (Naumann, 1896-1905). 

In Switzerland it is found everywhere in winter, but seems to be common in the 
southwestern parts (Fatio, 1904). In the Iberian Peninsula it appears to winter abundantly. Irby 
(1883) met with it at Santander in November, but farther south it is very common in 
southern and eastern Spain (Arevalo y Baca, 1887). According to Barcelo {fide Reyes y 
Prosper, 1886) it is found on Mallorca and Minorca of the Balearic group. In Portugal it is common 
(A. C. Smith, 1868; de Seabra, 1910). Tait (1896) also found it abundant at Oporto, 
while the Museum of Coimbra has specimens from Monte-Mor. Jourdain (1912) 
states that the species is common on the east coast of Corsica, and in Sardinia it appears to be fairly 
well represented (Salvador!, 1865; Brooke, 1873). In Sicily the birds winter in the vicinity of Lentini 
and Syracuse (Malherbe, 1843), and C. A. Wright (1864) states that they winter occasionally on 
Malta also. According to Despott (1917) it is by no means common there. Apparently there is no 
Italy Italy in which the species does not winter, for Giglioli’s (1889-91) researches 

show records of its doing so from Apulia and Calabria northward through Campania, 
the Marches, Tuscany, Liguria, Venice, Lombardy and Piedmont. On the east coast of the Adriatic 
the species is very common in Dalmatia, from November till April (Kolombatovic, 1903) and farther 
Austria north appears to be fairly abundant in the Tyrol (Althammer, 1857). The Crown 
Prince Rudolf (Rudolf and von Brehm, 1879) stated that it occurred in the vicinity of 
Vienna in winter and Frauenfeld {fide Naumann, 1896-1905) has recorded it from Lower Austria. It 
Hungary appears that the Pintail winters occasionally in southern or even central Hungary, as it 
did at Turcsisca in 1876 (Madarasz, 1884; Petenji,^e Naumann, 1896-1905). It cer- 
Greece tainly winters throughout the Balkans, commonly at Durazzo (Lodge, 1909), though it 
appears to be uncommon in Greece (von der Miilile, 1844: Lindermayer, 1860). Powys 





(1860) has recorded it from western Greece, and according to that writer as well as Lord Lilford 
(1875) it is rather common on the Ionian Isles. Farther north it was found at Constantinople by 
G. C. Taylor (1872) and Braun (1908), and at Burgas, Bulgaria, by Radakoff (1879). 

Elwes and Buckley (1870) state that it winters in Bulgaria and according to Sintenis 

(1877) it does so on the whole lower Danube, especially in the Dobrudja. According to Radakoff 

(1881) it winters in Bessarabia, and von Nordmann (1840) claims that it does so in 

southern Russia. I am skeptical about this latter remark, though Valkh (1911) states 

that it winters rarely in Ekaterinoslav. 

In Africa the species winters in Timis in great abundance (Zedlitz, 1909; Kdnig, 1888; I\diit- 
aker, 1905; Bede, 1915; Millet-Horsin, 1912) but is apparently not so very common in Algeria 
(Taczanowski, 1870; Rothschild and Hartert, 1912). Tristram (1860) found it fairly 
common in the northern Sahara, south of Algeria. Carstensen (1852) and Reid (1885) 
have recorded the species as wintering in Morocco. I find no record of its occurrence in the Azores, 
but a specimen was taken October 22, 1895, at Machico in the Madeira group (Schmitz, 1896), and 
another apparently in the Canaries on Lanzarote (Bannerman, 1914). In western Africa Pintails 
probably extend far south. I find by referring to de Rochebrune’s (1883-85) elaborate Western 
work on the fauna of Senegambia (an apparently imreliable treatise, it is true) that Africa 
it is rather common on passage in that country, where it has been taken at Thionk, Sorres, 
Gandiole, Sedhiou and Daranka. The remark “on passage” may furnish a clue to an explanation of 
the fact that a specimen, unfortunately without date, has been taken at Zaria, northern Nigeria 
(Hartert, 1886). I am quite sure that most of the European ducks winter or pass along the west 
coast of Africa and winter as far south as Nigeria, where such startling discoveries concerning some 
species have been made. It may be that some actually cross the desert. Von Schweppenburg (1918) 
found remains of a Pintail in the Tuareg region, central Sahara. In East Africa the birds winter in 
great numbers in Lower Egypt and the Fayilm (Nicoll, 1919; Shelley, 1872; Zedlitz, Eastern 
1910; Kaiser, 1890; A. L. Adams, 1870) but become rarer above Cairo (Shelley, 1872). Africa 
On the other hand reports seem to indicate that it is again abundant in Kordofan and the Sudan 
(von Heuglin, 1873; A. L. Butler, 1905). On the White Nile it occurs in flocks as far up as El Dueim, 
and El Kawa (Ogilvie-Grant, 1902: Jagerskiold, 1904) and in Abyssinia it has been met with on 
Lake Cialalaka (Salvadori, 1884, 1888). The British Museum has specimens from Angolalla, north 
of Addis-ababa, Abyssinia. East of the Nile I find a solitary record for Capomazza, Eritrsea (Salva- 
dori, 1908). On the Blue Nile and in the Tigre region the species is known to occur (von Heuglin, 
1873). Most astounding is the fact that in East Africa the species reaches the equator. Specimens 
have been taken in the Mau district, east of Victoria Nyanza (C. H. B. Grant, 1915) and in the 
Ankole district, west of the Great Lakes (Ogilvie-Grant, 1905a). V. G. L. van Someren (1916, 1922) 
met with it on passage, but not commonly, at Lake Nakimu and at Lake Naivasha, Kenia Province, 
British East Africa. 

Passing to Asia I find the Pintail recorded for Suez (Zedlitz, 1910) and Arabia Petraea (von Heug- 
lin, 1873) while Wyatt {fide Hart, 1891) reported it for the Sinai Peninsula. Very likely it occurs 
along the entire Red Sea coast of Arabia, for specimens have been taken at Lahej, near ^gjg^ 

Aden (R. Hawker, 1878) and at west Laikah, in the Hadramant region (von Lorenz 
and Hellmayr, 1901). It winters in Palestine (Tristram, 1884; Meinertzhagen, 1920a), and un- 
questionably throughout Asia Minor. Danford (1878, 1880) found it very abundant about Marash 
in the Taurus region in late January, and in northern Asia Minor G. C. Taylor (1872) found it to be 
common at Ismid, southeast of Constantinople. Lord Lilford (1889) has recorded the species for 
Cyprus where it is common (Bucknill, 1910). Farther east Pintails winter in the Caucasus (Radde, 
1884), but perhaps chiefly in the southeast, at Lenkoran and vicinity. They winter also in the valley 
of the Tigris and of the Euphrates (Meinertzhagen, 1914) and the British Museum possesses skins 
from Babylon and Bagdad as well as from Fao at the head of the Persian Gulf. In Persia the species 






winters on the southern Caspian (Radde, 1886) and in Kuhistan, Kirman and the Seistan (Zarudny, 
1911; Baker, 1919). In southern Persia it w’inters in the Mesopotamian and Zag- 
ross regions (Zarudny, 1911) and in southern Afghanistan about Kandahar it is 
common (O. B. St. John, 1889). Zarudny (1911) states that it winters in southern Baluchistan also, 
but Meinertzhagen (1920) says only a few winter at Quetta. North of Persia it is stated by Dre.sser 
(1876) to winter in northwestern and southwestern Turkestan, by which he refers in general to 
the region along the Syr-darja River, even to the Aral Sea. It may be that it winters through- 
out the mountainous regions north of Afghanistan, that is in Buchara, Samarkand and Ferghana, 
but I must confess that the extension of its wintering range down the entire Syr-darja valley to the 
Aral Sea seems somewhat doubtful. It has, however, been found in February on the Naryn River 
(Laubmann,1913) and in the Tien-shan at Tschinas in early March, at Ulan-ussu in September, and 
at Angssi in February (Pleske, 1892). The fact that so many of these birds start north in February 
from Persia and India makes it extremely difficult to interpret simple dates without further informa- 
tion. I believe in this region it winters as far north as the Tien-shan, for in Kashmir it is common 
in winter (Adams, fide Hume and Marshall, 1879) and according to Hume, quoting Scully, it is 
common in the Himalayas as well as south of them. In India it appears to be 
locally common everywhere, though in the Deccan it is somewhat rare. It winters 
south, however, even to Ceylon (Legge, 1880). Eastward it is common in northern Siam and upper 
Burma (Hume and Marshall, 1879; E. W. Oates, 1883), very abundant in Arakan (Hopwood, 1912), 
common in the South Shan States (Bingham and Thompson, 1900; Rippon, 1901) but rare in south- 
ern Tenasserim (Baker, 1908) though it has been found at Moulmein (Hume and Mar-shall, 1879). 

Farther to the east the species winters throughout southern and central China, whence 
it has been recorded for Yunnan (R. C. and Y. B. Andrews, 1918), Hainan (Hume and 
Marshall, 1879), Hong-kong and Amoy (Vaughan and Jones, 1913; R. Swinhoe, 1860), Swatow and 
Foochow (La Touche, 1892), Formosa (R. Swinhoe, 1863) and Ningpo (R. Swinhoe, 1873). In the 
interior it is said by Styan (1891) to be abundant on the lower Yangtse from Hankow to the delta, 
and La Touche (1922) records it as common at Shasi, Hupeh, in wdnter. Seebohm (1884) has re- 
corded it from Kin-kiang on the Yangtse, and E. H. Wilson (1913) found it far in the interior of 
western China at Kiating, Szechwan Province. The species does not seem to winter as far north as 
Peking, but is found in Korea about Seoul in mild winters (C. W. Campbell, 1892). 
In Japan it winters commonly in the south (Blakiston and Pryer, 1882), apparently 
north even to Tokio and beyond (M’Vean, 1878), but hardly in the extreme north of Nippon 
or on Yezo. On the islands of the Pacific the species has been found on Tanegashima in the Loo- 
choo group and it apparently winters quite numerously and regularly in Luzon, 
Philippines (R. C. McGregor, 1909). There are four or five records of its occurrence in 
northwestern Borneo, whence the British Museum possesses specimens from Bintulu, 
Labuan and Sarawak, and the Sarawak Museum has a specimen taken at Kapit Fort. 
In 1886, Tristram (1886) recorded the occurrence on Sydney Island, Phoenix group, of a Pintail which 
he called Dafila modesta. Salvador! (1895) confesses he is unable to distinguish the specimens from 
some examples of Dafila acuta, but on account of the locality he is loath to identify the two as being 
one and the same species. It seem